Given that activity of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) in April is perennially focused on preparations for its annual general meeting (AGM), you could be forgiven for thinking that this is solely a time for wrapping up chamber business and addressing important matters of governance.
Undoubtedly the month marks the completion of tenure of the incumbent executive committee (Excom). The reality, though, is that April is not the end of the chamber year, but rather the beginning.
The 2016–17 chamber year
The AGM provides an important opportunity to look back on the past year, report on progress to achieve chamber goals, and enable members to voice their opinions. But, when we will gather at the Shangri-La Tokyo on 27 April, we will already be four weeks into the 2016–17 year.
With a sharp focus on business, we will have opened the events calendar, on 5 April, with William Sposato, former deputy bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, taking the pulse of Abenomics. This will have been followed, on 12 April, by insights from Bill Emmott, former editor in chief of The Economist, into the challenges currently facing Europe.
The BCCJ takes great pride in providing members with access to respected economic and business commentators, as well as public figures. Last year these included Boris Johnson, mayor of London, and Yoichi Masuzoe, governor of Tokyo. Such events do not happen by chance, and are the result of hard work and effort put in over the years by chamber members, the secretariat and other stakeholders.
In terms of shaping our events programme, one name stands out above all others—Graham Davis. Formerly an investment banker and director of the Economist Corporate Network in Japan, he somehow found time, for many years, to lead the BCCJ’s events task force. More recently, he was also our standard bearer for global sporting events.
Championing opportunities for British business, he has been a powerful catalyst for engagement by the international community in support of the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As members will now be aware, he decided not to stand for re-election to the 2016–17 Excom. He will be sorely missed and, on behalf of the chamber, I acknowledge a debt of thanks for the contribution he has made to the BCCJ.
My gratitude also goes to the other members of the 2015–16 Excom, particularly Susumu Kaminaga, Ajab Samrai and John Short who also decided not to stand for re-election. They, too, have made tremendous contributions to the success of the chamber over the past year.
Why not get involved?
Finally to address our active members—the chamber thrives on your participation, and I sincerely hope that you are looking forward to helping the BCCJ continue to flourish in the 2016–17 chamber year.