Following the powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture in mid-April, we urge members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) to support organisations providing on-the-ground relief to the stricken communities affected.
For those able to donate, please check the BCCJ website for details of some of the ways in which assistance may be provided.
Albeit with extreme concern for the welfare of those facing the challenges of recovery and reconstruction, beyond the affected areas, business and social routines continue as normal. For the BCCJ, this meant holding its annual general meeting (AGM) on 27 April.
One of the privileges of being president is that I have the opportunity to use such occasions as a platform to publicly acknowledge the individuals who have contributed so much to the chamber.
We have received tremendous support from members over the past year, and are very proud of our highly effective secretariat.
Led by our executive director, Lori Henderson MBE, and supported by Sanae Samata, Joanna Lundt and our dedicated interns, we have a very capable team at the heart of chamber operations.
The chamber itself has continued to develop in terms of activities, participation and membership numbers. The Executive Committee (Excom) maintains its belief that a strong events programme provides a robust platform for networking and the sharing of different perspectives on business, the economy and current affairs.
We hope this, in turn, enables our members to broaden their understanding of the Japanese market, and identify opportunities that are of benefit to their businesses.
As a catalyst for that process, we will continue our efforts to present at events people who matter to you and your firms—be they celebrity chief executives, political commentators or potential customers.
I would also like to thank the 2015–16 Excom. Each member has unique talents that they have generously employed over the past year for the benefit of the chamber.
Our membership task force, in particular, has worked diligently to develop our innovative “member get member” scheme, and related marketing collateral. We hope this will generate additional value for members who help to broaden the depth and breadth of chamber membership.
Maintenance of close working relations with organisations that share common objectives, such as the British Embassy Tokyo, UK Trade & Investment and the British Council Japan, will continue to be important in helping the BCCJ support UK–Japan business.
I am delighted that the strength of our relationship with the embassy was in evidence again this year by the presence at our AGM of Ambassador Tim Hitchens CMG LVO. For this, we are extremely grateful.
Lastly, on a personal note, I am honoured to have the opportunity to serve again as chamber president for the coming year.
The BCCJ is, without doubt, one of the most active national chambers of commerce in Japan. For that we can thank our membership, and I look forward to working with the new Excom to make it even better.