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HR Certification: A Step Forward for the HR Profession in Japan

The long wait is over. Five years after the establishment of The Japan HR Society (JHRS), our organization has taken an important step forward in achieving our goal of launching an HR credentialing or certification system for Japan-focused HR professionals. This goal supports JHRS’ mission of helping advance the practice of the HR profession in the country.

We do this not by reinventing the wheel, but by leveraging the power of collaboration and synergy with like-minded organizations that have the same values and principles as JHRS.

In this regard, JHRS is proud to partner with the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) – an internationally recognized credentialing body for the HR profession, with more than 220,000 HR professionals certified to date. (Refer to JHRS Community News section for more details about this partnership as well as information on Japan’s first group of HRCI-certified HR professionals.)

This is just the beginning. JHRS is also approaching other HR credentialing organizations in the world to introduce a diverse and inclusive HR credentialing system that fits the Japanese context and at the same time helps bring Japan HR practices up to par with global HR best practices and standards.

Why Get Certified?

Why not? In Japan, many professions require special training or certification (e.g., hair or nail stylists, blowfish or fugu 河豚 chefs, Green Tea Ceremony hosts, etc.) or even a license (e.g., labor & social insurance consultants, immigration consultants, tax accountants, etc.) before individuals are allowed to practice. So why not apply the same concept to the HR profession? After all, HR professionals are the custodians of an organization’s most important asset – its people.

On an individual level, HR certification is simply a demonstration of your own commitment to professional development and the HR profession as a whole. It’s not just about a paper certificate or various letters of the alphabet attached to your name.

Rather, it’s about kaizen カイゼン, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement. Through continuous HR education and study of the world’s best HR practices, Japan-focused HR professionals can truly respond to Japan’s so-called “New Global Spirit” (see The HR Agenda, Oct-Dec 2011). I believe that HR certification can help Japan not only survive, but truly thrive in the global marketplace.

In addition, certification can help individual HR professionals achieve recognition, since this certification comes with a tremendous sense of responsibility, a commitment to continuous learning, and a passion for the HR profession.

Next Steps

I hope that this article will encourage you to join an elite group of Japan-focused HR professionals and to help raise the bar of the HR profession in Japan.

To start with, visit the JHRS website ( certification) to learn more about the credentialing/certification process and understand the what, why and how involved in this process. You may also want to visit the HRCI website ( and other JHRS credentialing partners in the future so that you can make an informed decision.

As usual, if you have questions, concerns, or simply want to talk with someone, feel free to contact us at and we will do our best respond to your inquiry.

I do hope that you will eventually decide to invest in yourself and become part of Japan’s new breed of certified HR professionals. A small step – but definitely a step forward in advancing the HR profession in Japan. Get noticed. Get certified.

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