Leaders June 2015

An effective platform

Business exchange and networking high on agenda

The first British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) Executive Committee (Excom) meeting of the new chamber year took place on 27 May.

We welcomed five new faces to our board of 15, and enjoyed a discussion geared to promote the interests of BCCJ members in the Japan market.

Jonty Brunner of British Airways was elected unanimously as vice-president. In addition, he will continue in a role he has held for the past 18 months, that of liaison between the BCCJ and the European Business Council, the trade policy arm of 16 European chambers of commerce.

Increased activity

During 2014–15, attendance at BCCJ events increased 24% year on year. This year, President David Bickle has set ambitious targets to further increase attendance, thereby enriching our networking platform.

We are set to offer 40 quality events in 2015–16 and, with the change of government in the UK, are poised to welcome a series of high-profile visitors.

For the eighth consecutive year, we are very pleased to be delivering the British Business Awards, which invite firms to showcase the contributions they have made to the UK–Japan commercial relationship.

Details of the 2015 event—on the evening of 13 November at Palace Hotel Tokyo—feature on the BCCJ website. An early-bird discount will be available on corporate tables and seats until 31 July.

Could your firm sponsor this highlight of the UK–Japan business calendar? Email info@bccjapan.com for details on how to support this year’s event.

Foreign chambers

This year, I’m pleased to be chairing the Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Japan Executive Director Network. The group held its first meeting of 2015, kindly hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan on 2 June.

All major chambers (defined as those serving over 100 firms) have seen an increase in Japanese corporate membership over the past year. This may be indicative of Japan’s push to “go global”.

Chambers also discussed ways in which the interests of our growing membership body of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses could be collaboratively supported. I look forward to sharing updates over the coming months.

On 4 June, led by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives from 15 foreign chambers of commerce toured what will be the central zone for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We considered the Tokyo Bay development, tourism and MICE, counter measures for earthquake and tsunami, and conservation.

Well done!

Finally, congratulations to Philippe Fauchet, who was awarded an Honorary OBE from British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO on 3 June. I was honoured to attend the ceremony and we are delighted to have him serve on this year’s Excom.