Dakwah in the Land of the Rising Sun
Japan is a country that has no specific religious beliefs where Shinto and Buddhist rituals coexisting side by side. In Japan there is a saying that people are born Shinto, get married Christian and die Buddhist. Most Japanese does not have any religion and some of them celebrate Christmas and Halloween as a fun yearly event and not because they are religious Christian.
Akmal started halal business due to his experience as an International student in Japan where he found difficulty in finding halal food due to lack of knowledge and awareness about halal within the Japanese society. There were very limited Muslim permissible food or facilities among Japanese which is very essential for Muslim’s life in Japan. Upon realizing the need for more halal food, restaurant and facilities in Japan, Akmal established MHC Co. Ltd to deliver understanding to Japanese regarding halal and to assist Muslim living in Japan with a motto “Halal for all” in 2010.
According to CrescentRating, Japan is home to some 100,000 Muslim, of whom 10 percent are native Japanese while the rest are foreign resident of Japan. The understanding of Islam in Japan is still low as Muslim is a minority in Japan. Japanese has the wrong perception towards Islam and Muslim community at large due to the current and recent situation involving Muslim in the world.
There is also problem with the lack of information about halal in Japan. In order to solve this problem, MHC started delivering seminars about Islam and halal in all over Japan. MHC strives to help Japanese have better understanding of Islam and the importance of halal environment in Japan and World market.
Many Japanese companies are eager to expand their business in Islamic countries but most of them have no or less understanding about Islam and Islamic requirement in halal. Seminars given by Akmal on Halal Management focuses on helping Japanese companies to understand Islam and halal. In these seminars, Akmal explains to the Japanese why it is necessary to include Islamic requirements in their business in order to cater to Muslim market.
The seminar touches topics as below:
Muslim population is about 1.62 billion or 23 percent of the entire world’s population. By 2030, the world’s total Muslim population is expected to increase to 2.2 billion people.
As Tokyo has been chosen to hold Olympic Games in 2020, Japan has to be ready to accept flooding of Muslim visitors from all around the world. The number of Muslim travelers to Japan is projected to more than triple by 2020 and could reach one million by 2020. This is due to Japan opening its door and starting offering visa exemption for Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia from year 2014. Therefore, Japan has to work hard in order to be prepared and to cater for the flooding of Muslim visitors to Japan
MHC Co., Ltd. is one of the first organizations, which started to deliver various seminars about Islam and halal in all over the Japan. Through the seminar, MHC has contributed to improve understanding about halal and Islam in Japan.
MHC Co., Ltd. has been receiving many inquiries about halal standard and what are the requirements needed to serve halal menu. Japanese companies are highly concerned about getting ready for halal, and we believe that they will be able to welcome Muslim customers with the utmost confidence.
MHC believes we need to start educating Japanese from
Meaning: start from where they can
and must follow the basis of halal concept.
Basis of Halal:
Based on the above reasons, and also to help Muslim in Japan, MHC have started giving certificate to restaurant in Japan which we called Local Halal.
What is MHC Local Halal standard?
Facilities, which has obtained Local Halal Certificate serve Halal Menu; which was prepared using separate cooking utensils and served on separate tableware. The facility also displays MHC Co., Ltd. halal logo, to assure Muslim customers, that they can fully enjoy safe and delicious halal food. Even though the restaurant also serve alcohol for Japanese customer, many Muslims who visit Japan are highly satisfied with this service.
MHC mission is to correct Japanese understanding of halal and educating Japanese to the true meaning of halal. Also, the mission of MHC Co., Ltd. is to strengthen relations between Islamic countries and Japan through ‘Halal’, so that there will be a bridge between Japan and the Muslim world.
Akmal Abu Hassan
Malaysia Halal Corporation Co., Ltd.
|Mar. 1995||Graduated from University of Gunma; Bachelors of Computer Engineering|
|Apr. 1995||Joined Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi Japan|
|Jan. 1998||Joined Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)|
|Sep. 2007||Served as an Assistant Director at MATRADE Osaka branch|
|Sep. 2010||Managing Director of Malaysia Halal Corporation Co., Ltd.|
|Dec. 2014||Representative Director of Muslim Professional Japan Association|
|2012||Food Action Nippon Fan Award – MHC Co., Ltd.|
|2012||Look East Policy Award|
|2014||Halal Business (Japanese)
– Gentosha Renaissance Publication
Mr. Akmal is born on 4th March 1970 in Malaysia. In year 1990, Mr. Akmal finished his studies in Special Preparatory Program to Enter Japanese Universities, Centre for Foundation Studies in Science, University of Malaya. Then in 1995, he came to Japan as scholarship funded International student.
Upon graduating in 1995, Mr. Akmal was recruited by BOTM (Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi Japan; now known as Mitsubishi UFJ Tokyo), Japan under the International Trainee Programme, to work as a key-person in any of BOTM branches around the world
In 1998 until 2007, Mr. Akmal works as Assistant Director in the Industry Division, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
Later in Sept 2007 until 2010, Mr. Akmal come back to Japan as an Assistant Director at MATRADE for Osaka branch.
Later in 2010, Mr. Akmal establish MHC Co. Ltd. and since then is the Managing Director of MHC until today.
In 2013, Mr. Akmal establish Muslim Professional Japan Association (MPJA). MPJA is the association that has become certified Halal Body by Majelis Ulama Indonesia and also the member of World Halal Food Council (WHFC).
Words from the managing director
Most of the Japanese think that ‘Halal’ is something specifically related to Muslim only, for instance Halal Food, Halal Cosmetic, Halal Medicine, etc. However, they do not realize that ‘Halal’ has much bigger meanings. In Malaysia Halal Corporation, we promote ‘Halal’ as:
1. To boost Japanese economy
Currently, Japanese industry must not rely only on the local purchasing power. Japanese corporations need to open their mind for global market including ‘Halal’ market as well.
In the current international situation, such as the war that has been caused by religious affairs, halal can be the tools for peace because everybody can learn and understand each other by using or eating the same products which is ‘Halal’.
Since halal products can be consumed by everybody regardless of their religion, everybody can enjoy the taste when the product is ‘Halal’
Since ‘Halal’ food is something that most people can eat, restaurant that provide ‘Halal’ food, can be the place where everybody can meet up regardless of their religion.