Executive Committee September 2013

are we at the bccj doing enough?

Goals: satisfying members and providing inspiring events

As a student, I used to be faced with the nightmare scenario of a blank sheet of paper and too little knowledge or inspiration to write anything sensible. Later in life, the nightmare would become not having enough ideas, themes, speakers or concepts to host BCCJ events.

In student days, it was fear of humiliation in front of a tutor that would finally force at least something onto the page. Now, the audience is just as demanding. So, BCCJ members, how are we doing?

Priority in organising events is given to the interests of the audience—which means you. We believe BCCJ events should cover a range of topics, feature some business links (even those of a social nature) and offer good value in terms of cost and time for attendees, speakers and organisers alike.

So far this year, we’ve hosted a wide variety of speakers on several topics. Abenomics has not just stimulated the economy; it has completely changed the political and economic environment.

We covered Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s politics and the economic implications thereof in separate breakfast events.

Then, to provide a perspective on the UK political scene, we hosted a former—and very indiscreet—member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet. 

And keeping to broad themes, we heard from distinguished UK journalist Will Hutton on what ails the world and UK economies, and what needs to be done.

We’ve also hosted panels to discuss the music industry in Japan. It really was a pleasure to put faces to the well-known voices of Peter Barakan and Guy Perryman.

At another panel discussion we looked at the reason Japan does poorly at international communication, branding and advertising.

Following this event, members were invited to visit Nissan Motor Co’s fascinating Global Media Center at the firm’s headquarters in Yokohama. Nissan is a leader in terms of the way its media team produces its marketing content.

BCCJ members asked for opportunities to hear from leading Japanese business figures, so to our great pleasure we hosted the chairman of JR Central, Yoshiyuki Kasai. You didn’t need to love railways to have found his speech and views compelling.

Our Small Is Great forum, comprising members who are entrepreneurs or who work for small or medium-sized enterprises, has tackled the topic of marketing.

And we continue to look at serious HR issues, most recently those involving disabled workers.

Then there’s the annual general meeting, our BCCJ 51 Night events, and the fun, hugely successful party in July to celebrate the 400th anniversary of diplomatic, trade and cultural relations between Britain and Japan.

And finally, together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, we’ve participated in two events to support Tokyo’s bid for hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London 2012 gave us a great story to tell, and the reaction of the bid committee and corporate Japan to our message of support was really good to hear.

But are we doing enough? Have we got the right speakers and topic mix?

What do you think of the formats we are using: is lunch your preference, or would you like to see more events over breakfast or in the evening? And are you keen to speak or contribute? Please let us know what you think and what you want.

A lot of good ideas and suggestions come our way and, as long as we believe our audience will find them interesting, we do our best to turn them into enjoyable events.

The BCCJ welcomes your comments, criticism and concept ideas for our events programme.