Kumiko Sawada

  • Kumiko Sawada, 52 years old, Japanese
  • Representing the high-tech sector in the Leuven MindGate ecosystem
  • Works at Nitto, a Japanese chemical company

About Kumiko

Kumiko came to Belgium in 1996 as an expat to work in the European HQ of the company she worked for in Tokyo. After the term, she decided to stay in Belgium. Now she works independently and has projects at a Japanese multi-national company Nitto that has their EMEA Head Quarters in Leuven. At Nitto, she supports administration for expats in different countries in the European region. She also helps the organization of global business events related to Nitto’s sponsorship of annual Nitto ATP Finals Tournament. Outside work, she likes to learn about European history and is interested in animal behavior science. She’s a fan of Pilates exercise and a regular jogger & swimmer.

Kumiko at a glance

Length of time in the Leuven Region: +/- 20 years
Reason for coming to Leuven: Work
Favorite spot in Leuven: The pop-up shops in the Diestsestraat
Favorite phrase in Dutch: Amai!

Kumiko's Top Tips for Living in Leuven

  1. Learning the local language always helps.
  2. Try to work around the holiday periods. July & August, December and school holidays are terrible moments to get things done in Belgium.
  3. There are 3 governments in this tiny country. The political landscape is very complex but try to learn the basics, which will help you understand what is going on around you.

About Nitto

Nitto was founded to produce electrical insulation in 1918 and is now Japan’s leading diversified materials manufacturer offering over 13,500 industrial products to more than 70 business fields as electronics, automobiles, ecology and life science.

More information

Want to know more about what you saw in Jane's video or have read about here? Check out these links

  • Kumiko and her husband are foster parents for children in Vietnam through Plan International
  • She is also a member of the Belgian chapter of the international volunteer Soroptimist organization
  • Kumiko now works for Nitto, a Japanese company with their European headquarters here in Leuven
  • Our regions has strong links with Japan, supported by the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce and the KU Leuven Alumni Chapter Japan
  • In the video you saw Kumiko help a colleague register with the city hall. You can check out their website here
  • The City of Leuven also maintains an International House, a single point of contact for questions relating to living in Leuven
  • We also saw Kumiko in the Diestsestraat going into the unique shops she said she enjoys so much. These included the record shop Flugzeug and the homewares shop Fairco