Executive Director July 2019

Be responsible

Bringing BCCJ 5.0 to life

As the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) pursues our BCCJ 5.0 initiative, the Executive Committee (Excom) has this year been asked to break with past governance structures and divide into three taskforces:

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Digital-Tech Innovation
  • Responsible Business

Each of these is now working to bring their pillar to life, striving to create ever more effective oppor­tunities and platforms for business exchange and networking.

As with all Excom taskforces past and present, the sub-groups’ objectives will be designed to benefit the BCCJ membership at large and bolster the greater UK–Japan commercial relationship.

Getting started

The Responsible Business group held their first meeting on 1 July. Topics ranged from banning single-use plastics to cross-industry mentoring programmes. SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals, employee well-being, regional revitalisation, and the workplace of the future were also on the agenda. The team considered the journey of good corporate behaviour from the perspectives of charity, corporate social responsibility and creating shared value, as well as environmental, social and governance criteria. And to that they added positive impact. Of course, what is deemed to be responsible business differs greatly from one organisation to another, and depends on size as well as factors such as corporate culture.

The first action point for this taskforce will be to survey BCCJ members on the responsible business topics that matter to them. This will ensure that we are delivering the messages and programmes which are relevant to your businesses. The Responsible Business Taskforce members are:

  • Will Farquhar (Aston Martin)
  • Tove Kinooka (Global Perspectives)
  • Kentaro Kiso (Barclays)
  • Noriko Silvester (Candlewick)
  • Trevor Webster (Taylor Brunswick)

Responsible tourism

As many ACUMEN readers will know, Japan has become the world’s fastest-growing major travel destination. In 2016, having achieved the goal of attracting 20mn inbound tourists annually—a target initially set for 2020—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe doubled the goal. The aim now is for 40mn foreign arrivals by the end of 2020 and 60mn by 2030.

With the sharp increase in foreign visitors, though, come heightened responses from the public, private and non-profit sectors—not to mention local commu­nities. The country and its people are now grappling with the government’s plan to develop the travel and tourism industry into a new pillar of the economy even as over-tourism threatens to burden historical sites and infrastructure.

Can Japan balance the massive economic opportunity with social and environmental impact? Is the current situation really sustainable? How will the country’s regions react and secure their piece of the pie? And what impact does this all have on the future of the country as a whole? On 29 July, we will launch the BCCJ’s Travel Tourism Think Tank, welcoming various Japanese and global industry players to analyse how businesses can leverage the nation’s incredible tourism boom in a responsible way. This event is designed for anyone with an interest in Japan’s regional revitalisation plans.

Positive impact

The 2019 British Business Awards is rapidly approach­ing and will be held this year on 8 Novem­ber at Hotel Gajoen. The categories returning are: Company of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year; UK–Japan Relations; and Digital-Tech Innovation. Plus, we are adding a brand-new category: Positive Impact.

Be sure to put your firm in the running for a trophy—particularly if you’ve made a notable contri­bution to society, communities or the envi­ron­ment. Learn more at www.bccjapan.com