Leaders November 2016

BBA and beyond

Ikumen, fintech and wine

For the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), the biggest event on the calendar is the British Business Awards (BBA). Months of planning come together in one evening in the form of a spectacular black tie gala dinner and award ceremony, where we celebrate the very best of British. Across six categories we recognise excellence and success in all industry sectors and applaud important social contributions made by businesses through their commitment to community and ethical behaviour.

This year, we will see the ninth BBA awards ceremony, an event that grows in size annually. More than 300 guests will celebrate in style, enjoying a lavish five-course meal accompanied by fine wines and whiskeys, first class entertainment, and the chance to win incredible prizes, including luxury car weekends, hotel stays and return flights to the UK.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of all our sponsors who have donated prizes, services and time to enable us to deliver the event. I thank them all, and look forward to their continued support of the BBA and the BCCJ.

After the party
By the time this article goes to press, the BBA dust will have settled, awards will have been won, a great party will have been had and, it is to be hoped, the sore heads will have cleared.

However, the BCCJ’s work does not stop once the BBA is over—we have diversity, fintech and wine tasting events coming up before the end of the year, and are already planning more for 2017. Please check the events page on our website to see what’s coming up.

If your business would like to co-host or sponsor a BCCJ event, or if there are event topics you’d like us to cover or speakers you’d like to hear, just let us know.

Out and about
This month I have been lucky enough to attend some fantastic events, including The Economist’s Japan Summit and the American Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Summit. Diverse talented speakers took part in panel discussions on a range of subjects. And a topic that is close to my heart, and also to the values of the BCCJ—how to create a better work–life balance for Japan’s workforce—was discussed in detail at both events.

Later this month we will be hosting our own event on this topic, looking at the ikumen phenomenon in Japan, ikumen being fathers who are actively engaged in raising their children. We will also examine how “ikubosses” in Japanese firms lead by example, encouraging their employees to take holidays and leave the office to spend time with their families.

It remains to be seen to what extent such initiatives will help firms reach government targets concerning fathers taking childcare leave and more women working in management roles. But the more these issues are openly discussed, the better. It certainly feels to me that Japan is at an exciting point of change and the BCCJ is very happy and proud to be a part of it.