Hong Konger Ang and Bhutanese Jigme contribute to region with skills learned in home countries

Ang (left) and Jigme show their desire to utilize the knowledge and skills they learned in their home countries

Two foreign nationals who specialized in studying civil engineering at university have become a vital fighting force for a construction company in the Niseko region town of Kutchan. Amidst a chronic labor shortage in the Shiribeshi region construction industry, Ang Ka Ho from Hong Kong and Jigme Samdrup from Bhutan are highly motivated to help out in the region with their own knowledge and skill.

Ang has worked at Shiraki Construction Industries in the town of Kutchan from April of last year, and Jigme joined from February of this year. They have both obtained residence visas in the “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services” category aimed at college graduates who have studied specialist knowledge and engineering.

Ang majored in building structural calculation, etc. at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Jigme majored in surveying technology at the Royal Bhutan Jigme Namgyel Engineering College. Sharing an interest in Japanese culture, such as anime, Jigme came to Japan in October 2017 and Ang came to Japan in March 2020. After working outside of Hokkaido in areas such as electrical related work and civil engineering respectively, they responded to online Shiraki Construction Industries job postings.

After being hired by Shiraki Construction Industries, Ang has assisted site supervision for agricultural infrastructure development and river work, and also engages in photographing and schematic drawing drafting. He expressed his amazement that, “In Japan, the range of work a single person has to master is wide, and the quality of workers is high,” and also commented, “My goal is to put an emphasis on communication to clarify what kind of work is specifically needed at each site.”

Jigme is currently learning Japanese surveying technology in preparation for engaging in worksite operations. Regarding the work in general, Jigme feels, “Mechanization has advanced farther than in Bhutan, and completion is faster,” and he is working hard to absorb the information he needs. Because unfamiliar Japanese characters are used at work, he has also set the goal of improving his Japanese language skills even more.

Both Ang and Jigme are thankful for the kind guidance of other staff members in the company, and expressed exuberantly, “We want to work hard here for a long time.” They also aim to acquire civil engineering construction management certification.

Shiribeshi is experiencing an increase in large scale construction works for areas including the extension of the Hokkaido bullet train to Sapporo and high standard highway maintenance and construction. However, an engineer labor shortage and worker aging are problems that need solving. Company president Shiraki praises the cheerfulness and diligence of the two employees, “I know they will contribute immensely to our fighting strength.” Furthermore, he plans to continue aggressively hiring both Japanese and foreign staff, “Acquiring engineers expands our chances to participate in job bidding.”


Shiraki Construction Industries