Executive Director January 2018

A new year, a new era

Standing on the shoulders of giants

On behalf of the entire British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) team: Happy New Year!

We hope you enjoyed a refreshing festive holiday and that your 2018 got off to a fortuitous start.

Last year, we accomplished great things together—from hosting the largest event in our 69-year history, to being an information hub for a record number of members (970). Such achievements have brought new energy and strength to our chamber.

Bounding back
With January now well underway, we’ve reopened our offices, reconnected with our teams and colleagues and, no doubt, considered ways in which we would like to learn and grow during the year.

With that in mind, we’re bounding forth into an events programme designed to bolster your business development activities and equip you with a solid understanding of what the year ahead might bring for firms, both in Japan and globally. There has never been a better time to come and check out a BCCJ event and engage with our active and ever-growing community.

Among other celebratory activities planned to commemorate seven decades of strengthening business ties between the UK and Japan, we will mark our platinum anniversary with the launch of a special logo, to be featured in all BCCJ communications throughout this milestone year. The branding initiative is designed to reflect the long-standing cultural and commercial successes of the chamber and its members, while symbolising a new era of bilateral relations.

Since 1948, we have had four logos, including our current design. Our new logo, to be chosen this month by BCCJ members in an online poll, should remind you of the chamber’s successes past, present and, most importantly, future.

Over the coming 12 months, we will continue to modernise all nine BCCJ communication channels, making it even easier to stay in touch and keep up to date with UK–Japan news and related opportunities for your business.

In memoriam
Signing off, my thoughts turn most gratefully to someone who made all of this possible—my predecessor at the BCCJ, Ian de Stains OBE.

A wonderful person, generous mentor and caring friend, Ian worked tirelessly on behalf of BCCJ members during his time as executive director (1987–2011). Looking back through the office archives, it’s clear that Ian’s leadership brought a new level of professionalism and prestige to our organisation.

During our handover in early 2011, Ian shared words of wisdom and tools of the trade that will stay with me forever. These gems included how to write meeting minutes, the importance of nemawashi (quietly laying the foundations for future projects) and etiquette for when you have to attend more than one event in an evening.

Later, in 2015, his sponsorship helped me secure permanent residence in Japan. We used to joke that I would be footing the bill for our lunches for the rest of our days. It’s hard to believe I am writing about him in the past tense and that the next lunch will never come. He is sorely missed.

This year we will strive to honour Ian’s memory by continually demonstrating the innovative culture that makes the BCCJ great—signalling our readiness to embrace the next decade and beyond. We would be delighted to have you join us on the journey.