Success story

Micky – Mithat Haxhiislami

Descriptive Text

I have very close ties with Kosovo, in every aspect. Homeland and family for me, as well as for many of my compatriots, are everything, the primary reasons for my life.

1. In which year did you emigrate?

With the worsening of the situation in Kosovo - in 1989, I rushed to the curved road, namely to London, where I lived and worked until the end of 2002.

2. What do you remember most about your early life in the Western world?

Many difficulties to start a new life and uncertainty about the future. Also the psychological burdens we had, bearing in mind that the situation in Kosovo and the entire former Yugoslavia was constantly deteriorating, where our families lived. But on the other hand, London (the west) offered many opportunities, and this was what motivated me, kept me hopeful and fed me with positivity.

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The celebration of Kosovo's independence, on March 8, 2008 in Tokyo

3. How did your integration go and what difficulties did you encounter?

Initially, like most Albanians in migration, since our qualifications were not accepted, and in the impossibility of continuing the studies due to the extremely high cost for Yugoslav citizens, I worked in restaurants and bars in London, which was not easy at all. Then, in 1992, I started overseeing several apartments that were owned by a wealthy English family. After a year, I took over the management and leasing of all the apartments that were owned by this family and their friends. There were a total of 150 apartments under my management at the beginning, and this number rose to over 1500 by the end of 2002, when I left London. In 1996 in London I met a Japanese girl, whom I married and together we have a son, who will soon be 23 years old. For family reasons, in January 2003, I undertook the next challenge and settled in the Japanese capital, my wife's birthplace, where I still live and work.

4. What ties do you have with your homeland and what importance does it have in your life?

I have very close ties with Kosovo, in every aspect. Homeland and family for me, as well as for many of my compatriots, are everything, the primary reasons for my life. Since now real opportunities have been created to present our nation/country, better than ever before, this encourages me to promote it as much as possible, especially here in Japan, where I have lived for more than 18 years and led the first association friendship between Japan and Kosovo, since its establishment on March 8, 2008.

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At the Tokyo Tourism Fair on October 15, 2013

5. How many times a year do you visit your hometown on average?

On average 2-3 times a year, maybe more often than those from neighboring countries who visit their relatives in Kosovo during the year, considering my 10,000 km vs their 100 km.

6. How much has the birthplace changed according to your impression?

It has changed a lot in every aspect, especially after the declaration of independence in 2008. There is significant progress in terms of the development of infrastructure, constructions and the standard of living in general, but not so much in terms of raising the level of education, management of well, the fight against corruption, the fight against nepotism, the maintenance of the environment, as well as solidarity between people. Unfortunately, the latter, in my opinion, has degraded.

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During the MEDICA fair in Dusseldorf, Germany

7. What do you miss the most from your homeland in exile?

Mainly my family, sisters, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and my great company that I have there. I must point out that I am one of the rare Albanians who lives and works so long and so far away as Japan, where life is totally different compared not only to the Albanian world, but to all other countries on this planet, so of course I miss the closeness and warmth of my people quite a lot.

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With business partners in Nara, Japan

8. Do you think of returning one day to live in your hometown?

My life is divided mainly within the Tokyo-London-Prishtina triangle, and it will remain so until the end. I can hardly go back to live and stay mainly in my hometown. I am not a person who can only live in one place. It's not my nature. I am a Kosovo Albanian by blood, with British citizenship, while with residence, a citizen not only of Japan, but of the whole world.

9. Describe your professional commitment to us in more detail?

In February 2003, one month after I settled in Tokyo, I founded my own private company, which is good at selling innovative Japanese products, mainly those for health care. Then, in February 2004, I received an offer from the general manager of the private medical company Japan Medical Co Ltd., as manager of their international department, which dealt with similar products. This allowed me to deeply learn the way of working in a private Japanese cigar company. I was the only foreigner among its 60 workers. On September 1, 2010, we transformed the department in question into an independent company named Intermedico Japan Co., Ltd., which he still leads today.

This company specializes mainly in the production and sale of medicinal, health care and cosmetic products. Our main goal is to discover, introduce and sell successfully in the international market, new and unique Japanese products that protect and increase the quality of life. Quite simply, we deal with the most difficult work; changing the culture, from taking medications orally, to transdermal. We are present with our products in more than 40 countries of the world, both with our brands and with private brands which we produce for large international companies from the medicinal and cosmetic fields.

I want to point out that last year, just before the pandemic started, we created a sister company in Pristina, Kosovo, called Intermedico Japan Europe LLC, which will take care of the distribution and sale of our products not only in the Albanian markets, but and all of Europe. 

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The Haxhiislami family: Kasumi, Leni and Micky

10. In your opinion, what should institutions do for emigrants?

I think that the diaspora (especially cadres/individuals who have achieved success in different countries of the world, which are many), should be deeply involved in the governance of any state from the Albanian lands. Mergata has been, is and will remain the main driving force, in a word "oxygen of Albanianism". The more oxygen in the governance and decision-making of our countries, the more prosperity there will be for them. Unfortunately, the diaspora has been thought of only in difficult days, but unfortunately it has been very little involved in leadership and decision-making for building a better future for our countries. I wish this would change, because really without oxygen, there is no life (future). This is certainly not in the interest of any Albanian, whether inside or outside their lands.

I also wish that the Albanian governments will enable the emigrants, wherever they are, including Japan, to vote in our embassies in the future, as most democratic countries in the world do.

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With son Leni in Peja