Leaders January 2014

Alive and Kicking

Chamber attracts more Japanese members, hires new employee

We were delighted to see Robin Maynard, honorary member of the BCCJ and senior adviser at the Cornes Group, awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list, for services to the British community in Japan. In the late 1980s, Robin provided the BCCJ with its very first office, and has been a great supporter of the chamber during his 30-plus years in Tokyo.

At the beginning of this year, 1,195 people received honours, of which around 100 were awarded to overseas residents. It’s always uplifting to see work in Japan being recognised this way.

On 7 January, having fought off stiff competition from 104 other applicants representing 28 nationalities, Sarah Firth joined the BCCJ team as membership & marketing assistant. Please keep an eye out for her and say hello at an event.

We also welcomed to Japan in early 2014 two heads of BCCJ Corporate Plus member firms: Jonty Brunner, Regional General Manager, Japan & Korea, British Airways; and Magnus Hansson, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover Japan Ltd.

Looking ahead, we are now waiting to see if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s third arrow will live up to its promise. Anecdotally, I can say that Japanese firms seem optimistic about Abenomics.

Last year we saw increased interest in the BCCJ from such firms, and currently just over 9% of our corporate members are Japanese—the highest percentage in our 65-year history. We look forward to showcasing more Japanese speakers at BCCJ events in 2014.

Incidentally, having heard about JR Central’s Matsuri restaurant in St James’s, Mayfair, at our “Running a Railway from Central Japan to the World” event, led by Chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai in July 2013, I enjoyed a splendid Christmas Eve lunch in London (This of course is no reflection on the great variety of British fare that can be found in the capital!).

The 2020 Olympics will continue to be a hot topic this year, and, if all goes well, will prove beneficial to member firms, some of which have experience in executing the 2012 London Games.

Japan is currently designing an Olympic organising committee, to be launched in February. In the same month, the BCCJ will run a corresponding event led by VisitBritain Chief Executive Sandie Dawe.

Also, stay tuned for news of our seventh annual British Business Awards, to be held in early November 2014. For the second consecutive year, the Royal Bank of Scotland will be our headlining sponsor, supported by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

If your firm might be in a position to sponsor this year’s event, which features annually in the Financial Times and across a number of media channels, please email info@bccjapan.com.

Finally, we invite you to join us at the BCCJ Shinnenkai (New Year party) on 30 January. Our first social event of the year will be held at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, one of our newest member venues.

To stay updated on all BCCJ news and events:

  • Visit www.bccjapan.com
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  • Wishing you and yours a happy and prosperous Year of the Horse!