11 Facts About Itochu


Itochu has been one of the most popular employers for graduates of top Japanese universities for over thirty years due to their high pay levels, stability and the diversity of opportunities available to employees.

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In 2019 and 2020, Itochu was ranked the most popular employer for college graduates.

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Itochu started in 1858, shortly after the opening of Japan to foreign trade, when Chubei Itoh began door-to-door wholesaling of linen in the regions between Osaka and Kyushu.

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Itochu opened an office in Shanghai in the 1890s and started business in Seoul in 1905, but had severe difficulties with these first overseas forays.

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Itochu's performance improved in the 1930s, but as World War II began in the latter half of the 1930s, all trading companies' business became increasingly war-oriented.

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Itochu began to develop a strong information technology business in the 1980s through its subsidiary C Itoh Techno-Science, which acted as a Japan distributor for Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Oracle and others.

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In 1999, Itochu became one of the first Japanese companies to move away from the traditional seniority-based pay scale, adopting a base pay scale based on responsibilities, impact and value of each position as well as a performance-linked bonus system.

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Itochu spun off CTC in 1999, only to see CTC quickly achieve a market capitalization more than twice that of its former parent company.

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Under Okafuji's leadership, Itochu implemented a general ban on work after 8 PM with an across-the-board "lights out" policy at 10 PM while encouraging that any necessary overtime be taken in the early morning hours, reducing the total amount of overtime across the company.

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Itochu moved its Osaka headquarters to the North Gate Building adjacent to Osaka Station in 2011.

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Itochu entered into a cross-shareholding relationship with the Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand in 2014, and together with CP, agreed to invest over $8 billion in the Chinese state-owned conglomerate CITIC Limited during 2015, the largest investment ever made by a Japanese general trading company.

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