1. Personal Profile
Mr. Sonoda was born in 1954 in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. After graduating in Bachelor of Engineering form Kyoto University in 1977, he started working at Toyota Motors co., ltd. in Japan. Then he was sent to work in Australia, U.K., and Belgium. Currently he is entitled a managing director of Toyota Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and the chairman of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Thailand.
2. Philosophy in living his life and his favorite motto
“Choose the more difficult way at the time of hesitation”: that is, when you have to choose, hesitation leads your weakness to choose the easier way. He always chooses the more difficult way. When choosing the easier one, he can feel his defeat to weakness. When choosing the more difficult one – though later fails, he never regret choosing it.
“Living in a dream”: that is, living without goal in life. No matter how long life has been through, we are still living a dream until the last breath. He thinks it is good to have such a dream.
“Customer comes first”: in term of management, before making any decision, he tries to think from the customer’s point of view. So that that decision does not miss out anything important.
Moreover, other than these, he always feels that his living should dedicate to Thai society in some ways, such as giving scholarship to Thai students. Until now, Japanese companies in Thailand have supported for human resource. They aimed at individuals, which owe limitation in the outcomes. Therefore, if all the sponsorship from Japanese companies can be combined as one for education to Thai students, it could give a better result to the young generations who are interested in Japan.
3. The worst incident in life and how you got over it
It was when his favourite dog “Cho” died. This dog had been with him for 15 years, including when he was in U.K. and Belgium. U.K. was very strict for hydrophobia. During the first 6 months “Cho” was detained, he felt so sympathetic. The dog was more like a family member. When it passed away, he was in deep sorrow. Nowadays he has a locket made of Cho’s hair, which lower his sorrow when looking at it.
4. What he thinks of Thai society and economics
In term of economic issue, he sees Thailand as a free-trade country open to foreign capital rather than Japan. He wishes the government pursue the capitalism economic policies that are open like this.
In term of social issue, he thinks of a democratic country. Somehow the country offers too much freedom. Sometimes things that cannot be done in Japan can be done easily in Thailand. The way government officers do a part-time job, for instance, urges him to think of how the officer can work accurately with all effort to his full-time. It shows that Thai government needs a lot more restrictions and regulations.
On the other hand, there is also a problem of system in Japan (Amakudari). Retired high-ranked government officers will be given a very high status in private company, which causes too close relationship between the governmental section and private section. Solutions are still in need for this problem.
The same way to part-time jobs for Thai government officers, it must have been established in the society for a long time. It must be very difficult to abandon in a sudden. In his opinion, unless we readjust the salary basis, assure the quality of life, and create the attitude of value of work, it will be impossible.