I write this article during a week of doom in UK sporting performance, as our footballers limp home from Brazil, and our cricketers fall short of victory against Sri Lanka. But sporting success is not just about what you achieve on the pitch.
In Japan, there is a positive momentum about the unprecedented combination of events that will take place here—the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
The chamber believes we have a chance to do related activities, and develop ties with the Japanese organisers, communities and businesses involved. This work will be of interest to members well after the events have finished.
There is a lot to build on—the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and RWC 2015 to be hosted by England. The UK-Japan Host to Host Memorandum of Cooperation, witnessed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his recent visit to the UK, gives government backing to our initiatives.
The agreement will involve sharing UK experiences as Japan prepares for Tokyo 2020 and RWC 2019. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has already been arranging seminars for UK firms selling products and services to support Tokyo 2020. In addition, we have held a number of exciting events—on Tokyo 2020 (page 26) and RWC 2019 (page 30).
We believe that members want to look for business opportunities in relation to the events; and volunteer activities with organisers and local communities can offer great opportunities to have fun and contribute to the community.
We also believe that Japanese organisers will look to tap UK knowledge, skills and enthusiasm, in order to host successful events. Finally, issues such as diversity and inclusion (D&I) will be highlighted in the lead up to and, it is to be hoped, following the events.
The chamber hopes to bring things to life: events for members to grasp the opportunities available; events for organisers to understand BCCJ members and UK interest/expertise; channels to enable members to develop business; opportunities in the community for the BCCJ and its members; and initiatives for sport as a catalyst for D&I.
Naturally, we will be working alongside UKTI and others, including other foreign chambers of commerce, to achieve critical mass and success. We are excited about what this opportunity could mean for members, the chamber and the success of the events.
We will be working to finalise our plan—covering not just objectives, but how we will deliver them. Naturally, we would welcome feedback from members, and if anyone is interested in working with us, do let us know.