Vacancy -- Head of Welsh Government Japan Office - Open only to WG Employees & Employees of Other Government Departments

Working for the Civil Service

The Welsh Government's recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

Vacancy Details

Office of the First Minister
Overseas Team
Grade 7 - £51,380 - £61,440
Full time (not suitable for candidates who wish to work on a part time or job share basis)
Fixed term
This is a 2 year posting with the possibility of an extension up to a maximum of 4 years. It attracts detached duty terms and conditions.
Other location
Tokyo, Japan

Purpose of Post:

The primary purpose of the post is to represent, protect and promote all aspects of the Welsh Government’s interests in the country, as part of the wider Overseas Team. The objectives for the Welsh Government’s Japan Office are set out in the Welsh Government’s annual Country Plan for the country (which covers the Welsh Government’s priorities across all portfolios).

The post requires the generation and pursuit of FDI target lists and delivery of marketing propositions. Success will be measured through the identification of quality leads, integration into productive business networks, visits of businesses to Wales and securing inward investment projects and trade deals.  Also the post holder will work closely with colleagues in all relevant teams in Wales to identify trade (export) opportunities, providing guidance for Welsh businesses on issues such as local trading conditions and delivering trade missions and trade support in target markets.

The post holder will also have responsibility for representing the Welsh Government and furthering Welsh Government interests in all areas of devolved policy, including academic collaboration, strengthening governmental ties between Wales and Japan, and other profile-raising initiatives.

The post holder will have line management responsibility for three country-based members of staff and will report to the Head of Asia Pacific and the Middle East (within the International Relations and Trade team. The post holder will be part of the wider Welsh Government Overseas team, which has a presence in the USA, Canada, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Dubai, Qatar, India and China.

Regular engagement with senior staff in corporations, intermediaries and wider networks will be required, with the post holder developing high level contacts across the key markets. Establishment of close working relationship with the UK Government’s Department for International Trade and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be particularly important..

The ability to speak Japanese at a functional level is a requirement of this post.  Training and support will be provided.

The opportunity is offered on a 2+2 fixed term contract and is open to Welsh Government staff already posted overseas – on a consecutive posting basis.

The post holder will be located primarily in the British Embassy in Tokyo. They will be an accredited representative of the Welsh Government/UK and be expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate way in line with the FCDO code of conduct. 

Due to the nature of the post, travel and out of hours working will apply. The successful candidate will be required to travel within Japan and to make a number of return visits to Wales as agreed by line management.

This is an overseas posted role and attracts detached duties allowances in line with the Welsh Government Working Abroad policy. If you are interested in the role it is important that you speak with the outlined point of contact to ensure you understand the role in full and how it operates within the overseas network of offices. Potential candidates should also consult the World Abroad and Returning to the UK following an overseas posting policy before applying.

Security clearance to ‘SC’ level is a requirement of the post. If the successful applicant does not hold SC level clearance, it will need to be in place before taking up the position. The successful applicant will also need to undertake pre-posting medical checks.

Key tasks:

Develop a rolling Annual Country and Business Plan with clear, measurable aims and objectives that support delivery of the core ambitions of the International Strategy for Wales:

  • Identify appropriate opportunities to raise the profile of Wales
  • Support the growth of the Welsh economy through direct support to Welsh exporters and inward investors from Japan
  • Promote Wales as a globally responsible nation
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the business issues, drivers and trends in Japan. Understand how these factors impact upon inward investment and trade markets, the opportunities on offer and the approach needed to achieve success.
  • Collaborate and work closely with colleagues across the Economy, Treasury and Constitution Group and across the whole of Welsh Government to deliver the aims of the International Strategy and specifically the goals of the Welsh Government Country and Business Plan for Japan.
  • Identify and help deliver new inward investment projects to Wales. Develop an evidence-based approach to potential inward investment companies.
  • Identify and help to deliver secondary investment opportunities from existing investors in the UK that are Japanese parented.
  • Work with trade development colleagues to help deliver trade missions to Japan and support Welsh exporters to the market.
  • Attend and promote the Welsh Government’s business agenda at appropriate commercially focused conferences, events and seminars across Japan.
  • Undertake meetings with companies and organisations promoting Wales and generating inward investment and trade leads.
  • Identify opportunities to promote Welsh Government interests in Japan across all areas of devolved policy, including HE, governmental and cultural matters.
  • Line-manage 3 country-based members of staff, who will also be based in the British Embassy in Tokyo.
  • Manage a modest annual activity budget.
  • Take lead responsibility for the development of a broad network of business and wider contacts across Japan.

Development opportunities:

This post offers an opportunity to develop experience of:

  • representing Wales overseas in a range of business, governmental and cultural contexts.
  • engaging with senior business leaders and political figures
  • supporting Welsh Ministers on visits to Japan
  • working flexibly in a highly varied and exciting post
  • establishing and developing a career in international trade and investment in a unique representational role

Closing Date:

29/09/2022, 16:00


Posts recruited to as part of this recruitment campaign are broadly open to UK nationals, those with right to remain and work in the UK and those that meet the Civil Service Nationality Rules only. Check your eligibility here:

Prior to appointment, all successful applicants will be required to produce original, acceptable documents as part of the pre-employment checks. If it becomes apparent at a later stage in the process that you aren’t eligible to apply, your application will be withdrawn, or offer retracted.

Equality and Diversity

The Welsh Government is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. This is underpinned by the Equality Act 2010 and will be adhered to at each stage of the recruitment process. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments are also embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.

We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation and increasing diversity in the Welsh Government by removing barriers and supporting all our staff to reach their potential. We are committed to recruiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and disabled people who are currently under-represented in Welsh Government.

We welcome applications from everyone regardless of age, marriage and civil partnership (both same sex and opposite sex), impairment or health condition, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender identity or gender expression.

We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Disability Confident Level 3 (Leader) organisation. Key to supporting this work and providing peer support are five Board sponsored Staff Networks (Disability Awareness and Support (DAAS); Minority Ethnic Support Network (MESN); Mind Matters (Mental health and well-being); PRISM (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex +) and Women Together.

Disability Confident

The Welsh Government has adopted the social definition of disability, in which it is recognised that barriers in society act to disable people who have impairments or health conditions, who are neurodivergent or who use British Sign Language. We are committed to removing barriers so that all (or potential new) staff can perform at their best.

We guarantee to interview any disabled person who meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence, at each stage of the assessment process before interview, which demonstrates you generally meet the job description requirements. We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people.

If you have an impairment or health condition, if you are neurodivergent or use British Sign Language and need to discuss reasonable adjustments for any part of this recruitment process, or wish to discuss how we will put in place any adjustments if you were to be successful, please email as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you to discuss requirements and any questions you may have.

A Great Place to Work for Veterans

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.

Welsh Language Requirements

The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and Welsh language skills are considered an asset to the organisation. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. 

The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the line manager on behalf of the Welsh Government of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.

Not necessary to undertake the duties of this post

Social Partnership

In Welsh Government, the relationship between the employer and trade unions is based on social partnership. We believe our goals can best be achieved by management and trade unions working together.

Our 3 recognised trade unions are:
•         PCS
•         Prospect
•         FDA

This relationship is underpinned by a partnership agreement. This sets out how our unions work with Welsh Government on issues such as:
•         pay
•         terms and conditions
•         policies and procedures
•         organisational change.

Our Welsh Government trade union colleagues work together to give their members a real say in the workplace. They make sure that the interests of their members are promoted and protected. They also help reduce inequalities and improve terms and conditions.

The Welsh Government has an excellent track record of working in partnership with its trade unions. We encourage staff to get involved. We support you to join a recognised trade union, to ensure your voice is heard in the workplace. and to learn more about trade unions and partnership working.

Competencies / Job Specific Criteria


Collaborating and Partnering - Encourage contributions and involvement from a broad and diverse range of staff by being visible and accessible

Job specific criteria

1.    Ability to represent the Welsh Government with confidence across a broad range of policy areas. 

2.    Knowledge of the economy and society of Japan, or ability to develop that knowledge quickly. The ability to speak Japanese to a functional level is a requirement of this post (point 3 on the language skills matrix at Annex A).  

3.    Experience or understanding of supporting commercial business operations, in particular (desirable) supporting export development and/or promoting inward investment.

Assessment Process

Applications will be sifted and successful candidates invited to attend an interview.

As part of the interview process, language skills will be tested separately.  A separate call will be arranged with a translator to test language skills.  The post requires A3 language skills ‘Can converse in some work-related conversations’

A 5 min presentation will be required at interview stage.  Please deliver a 5 min presentation on how you will approach the role in your first 6 months.

Other Information

  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘actual starting salary’, all candidates will start at the minimum of the pay scale being appointed to (this includes existing civil servants).This is not negotiable.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘type of opportunity’, this recruitment advert is not open on a Loan or Secondment basis.
  • For more information on the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions for Loan and Secondment positions in Welsh Government, please see external recruitment candidate guidance.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘Location of Post’ the role/s recruited to via this campaign can only be worked in the UK, not overseas.


0 = No skills
1 = Can hold a basic conversation in Japanese
2 = Can converse in simple work-related conversations
3 = Can converse in some work-related conversations
4 = Can converse in most work-related conversations
5 = Fluent

This opportunity is offered on a permanent, lateral only transfer basis to existing Civil Servants in Welsh Government and open on a lateral only, loan basis to existing civil servants outside of Welsh Government. 

Loans are only open to existing Civil Servants, recruited to the Civil Service via fair, open and on merit competition. Individuals moving on Loan will be subject to the Civil Service Transfer Principles (How to Move Jobs Between Departments and Agencies). Unless the agreement is for less than 6 months, successful individuals will move to the Welsh Government’s terms and conditions.

Unless otherwise stated in the Job Advert, Loans are not expected to gain a permanent transfer to Welsh Government (this is subject to the ongoing need for the role and funding being confirmed at the end of the loan period) and only those applying laterally at the substantive grade are eligible. No temporary or permanent promotion opportunities are offered unless otherwise explicitly stated. Individuals on loan will be expected to return to their home department at the end of the agreement and to their substantive grade. 

As this is a possible 4 year posting overseas, the post is open to staff working on a full time basis only. It is open to staff already posted overseas – on a consecutive posting basis.

These roles are for up to 4 years on a temporary basis. Internal, existing, permanent WG staff will retain their permanent status but after the four years, those appointed will need to seek a further role through the internal jobs board or via discussions with their HRBP team.

Paula Walsh - International Relations & Trade Deputy Director -

How to apply

All applications for this vacancy should be made online via the Welsh Government's online application system.  If you have an impairment which would prevent you from applying on-line, please e-mail to request an application pack in an alternative format, or to request a reasonable adjustment related to an impairment in order to submit your application.

To apply, you'll need to have an account on our online application system.  Click the 'Apply' button below, and you'll be asked to 'Log in' if you already have an account, or 'Register' if you don't yet have an account.  Registration takes just a few minutes to complete.  You'll need an e-mail address to be able to register.  Once you've registered for an account and logged in, you'll be taken to the online application form, which you'll need to fully complete and submit before the deadline on the closing date.  

If you’d like to apply for this vacancy in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

For further information regarding the Welsh Government recruitment process, please see the Recruitment Guidance for internal Candidates (link).

When evidencing your suitability for the post, it is recommended that you refer to the Civil Service Competency Framework (link)

**Please note:  If you already have an Appoint account and would like to update your username and e-mail address to the new address, simply log in using your old details, click on your name in the menu bar, and select ‘Edit Personal Details’ in the dropdown list.  You can update any of your registered personal details on this page.**

Grievance and Complaints

Anyone who believes they have been treated unfairly, or has a grievance or complaint, about how the process was conducted should either write to the Head of Resourcing, Welsh Government, Cathays Park 2, Cardiff CF10 3NQ or email  If you are unhappy with the outcome of the complaint raised with the Welsh Government and feel that the principles of appointment on merit through fair and open competition have not been met you have the right to pursue your grievance with the Civil Service Commission.

This vacancy is closed to applications.