Simon Farrell


With extensive knowledge and key contacts from many years in the global print, digital, and broadcast media, Simon leads a diverse team of experienced editors, writers, designers, and photographers.


Interview July / Aug 2020

Life in the fast lane

Books July / Aug 2020

For quirky bookworms

FDI July / Aug 2020

Hitachi signals new rail era in Durham

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher July / Aug 2020

Don’t doubt our diversity

SUSTAINABLE July / Aug 2020

Passion for #PlasticFree

Motors May / June 2020

Lotus: lean and mean

Interview May / June 2020

Dr Kenji Shibuya

Charity May / June 2020

My Dad was in Prison with Nelson Mandela!

Interview May / June 2020

Tokiko Shimizu

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May / June 2020

Power of positive

Dogs Mar / Apr 2020

Japan’s best of breed

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher Mar / Apr 2020

Survival—not Silence—for the Sinfonia, Olympics … and Thomas the Tank Engine

Interview Mar / Apr 2020

Matthew Knowles

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher February 2020

War games

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher January 2020

Tears, fears and cheers

Honours January 2020

Tim Minton OBE

Business & Tourism January 2020

North Korea: open all hours

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher Nov / Dec 2019

Land of legends

Sport October 2019

Saitama Hosts “Blind Rugby”

Simon Farrell Publisher

When nature hurts, humans are inspired to help

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher September 2019

Rugby fans take slow road to Tokyo

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher August 2019

Capital battle: work–life balance

Plus our magnificent machines, magazines, musicians and Ms Matsushita
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher July 2019

Glass ceiling smasher

Many firsts for female role model Haruno Yoshida
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher June 2019

Diversity in action and acronyms

LGBT and KIWL annual events raise profile and funds
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May 2019

It’s in our DNA

Making, knowing, retaining history
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher April 2019

Reasons to be cheerful

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher March 2019

Million-dollar men

Creative February 2019

English plums at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders February 2019

Behind the scenes

Awards January 2019

Japan-British Society Awards

Royal tribute for charity founder and ballet star
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher January 2019

Week is long time in politics and publishing

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher December 2018

The End of History

Name for niche, quality, tradition helps UK goods in Japan
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher November 2018

People and places

Make history, music … and scandals
BCCJ Event October 2018

Govt’s World Events Team — plans for 2019 and 2020

Travel September 2018

Nikko’s Victorian legacy

Tea and scones served at 19th century British villa
Embassy August 2018

When disaster strikes

What the UK government can—and cannot—do for you in Japan
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher June 2018

Be prepared...

2p, or not 2p
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May 2018

The sun rises and falls

Sayonara, Doreen, and congrats to six Brits
Simon Farrell Publisher

Inside 1 Ichiban-cho

It’s people who make places
BCCJ Event March 2018

Strong bonds

What does Brexit mean for Scotland, the UK and Japan?
History March 2018

Happy Birthday, BCCJ!

It’s our Platinum jubilee (1948-2018): Part II
History February 2018

Happy Birthday, BCCJ!

It’s our Platinum jubilee (1948-2018): Part I
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher January 2018

Strong and long

More busy times for bilateral ties
Obituary January 2018

Ian de Stains OBE (8 December, 1948–18 December, 2017)

BCCJ executive director for 24 years and prolific BCCJ ACUMEN writer
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher September 2017

May Day

More than a mission
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher June 2017

Happy Official Birthday!

To Queen Elizabeth II
British Business Awards May 2017

Sponsor the 2017 BCCJ British Business Awards

Rare chance to be part of Japan’s biggest UK event
Top story February 2017

Welcome to Ambassador Paul Madden

The UK’s new top diplomat in Japan
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders January 2017

Guys and LOLs

Taking stock, looking ahead
Exit interview November 2016

UK Ambassador Tim Hitchens CMG LVO

An exclusive interview with the departing ambassador
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders September 2016

New editor

For a new era
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders December 2015

Big thanks

Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher June 2014

Meet the new editor

The World Cup, queen's birthday, economic promise make a buzz.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May 2014

Winds of change

Truly a readers’ magazine, BCCJ ACUMEN aggregates news, industry insights and cultural reports to both inform and entertain a broad audience of leaders and professionals.
Motors May 2014

Memory lane for motors

Preserved or renovated British car classics gathered for the inaugural Great British Rally in Tokyo.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher April 2014

Kaizen in practice

Election reforms, ACUMEN redesign and even Everton show ongoing improvement.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher March 2014

Inside the mind of a magazine designer

I’m delighted to welcome our gifted Creative Director Cliff Cardona to share with us his wisdom on the much-anticipated redesign of BCCJ ACUMEN.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher February 2014

Room for a View

Our newest columnist is an eloquent and informed female Japanese resident of London, Ginko Kobayashi.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher January 2014

Great Year for Great Causes

We are proud to have won the award for “Best Charity & Fund Raising Cookbook–Asia”, for producing Flavours Without Borders.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher December 2013

First for Firsts

A list, from A-Z, with some of my favourite firsts BCCJ ACUMEN featured in 2013.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher November 2013

And the Winner Is …

An excerpt from my partner Robert Heldt's acceptance speech for the 2013 Company of the Year award.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher October 2013

Memory Lane for BCCJ Members

Not all BCCJ events are about business. Of those I have attended, the UK–Japan Defence Collaboration on 2 October was one of the most intriguing.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher September 2013

BBA: You Judge the Judges

In case you needed more reasons to nominate a candidate for one of the six BBA awards, or attend one of the foreign community’s most prestigious events of the year, here is a list of the diverse and expert luminaries who will serve as judges.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher August 2013

British Business Awards: Artist, Judge, Nominations

With violinist Diana Yukawa’s British Airways ticket from London to Tokyo confirmed for her performance at the BCCJ 2013 British Business Awards (BBA), it’s also a pleasure to announce that Michael Woodford MBE, the whistle-blower, has kindly agreed to be a judge at the annual black tie event, on 1 November at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher July 2013

Helping the Other Half

Partner has become a popular word, with many couples, sponsors, firms, friends, colleagues, countries and ideologues preferring this warm and fuzzy term to “the missus”, “comrade” or “collaborate”.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher June 2013

Never Too Early to Plan the BBA

With a full season or two before the sixth British Business Awards (BBA), it feels strange as we plan—the aircon running—the BCCJ’s flagship event, traditionally held closer to winter.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May 2013

BCCJ ACUMEN Without Borders

We don’t take sides at BCCJ ACUMEN, whether political, geographical or other. We avoid, of course, favouring England over her close neighbours north and west, as the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish traditionally accuse the media and others of doing.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher April 2013

A Year to Remember

As we compiled features in this issue about the UK and Japan marking their 400-year relationship and a tourism campaign by VisitBritain and British Airways, I was intrigued to learn about a number of other important anniversaries in 2013.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher March 2013

Fighting—and Cooking—for a Cause

There are just 10,000 foreign refugees living in Japan compared with over 200,000 in the UK, the eighth-largest recipient of asylum seekers in 2011, according to the most recent numbers I could find.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher February 2013

Please Help Middle-aged Men in Lycra

I used to presume that Brits at Lunch was just a boozy excuse to shorten Fridays, attended by nostalgic expats getting misty eyed over their green and pleasant land, accompanied by chicken tikka masala and spotted dick with lashings of custard. Sorry, I was wrong.
Cover Story February 2013

Meet the New Ambassador

The UK and Japan share a curiosity and appetite for each other’s products, services and culture, says London’s recently appointed chief diplomat to its “closest partner in Asia”. He is busy promoting modern Britain’s creativity, diversity and ability to deliver.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher January 2013

Happy New Year!

We at Custom Media are proud to enter our fourth year of publishing BCCJ ACUMEN for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan and wish loyal readers, members, advertisers, the Executive Committee and Secretariat the very best of British for 2013.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher December 2012

Looking Back ... and Forward

In January 2012, Custom Media vowed to showcase in BCCJ ACUMEN a diverse array of subjects, industries, people and things related to UK–Japan business, culture, sport, lifestyle and more over the following 12 months.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher November 2012

Only Winners at the BBA

Best wishes from BCCJ ACUMEN to the winners and organisers of the fifth annual British Business Awards (BBA) on 2 November at the Conrad Tokyo. We postponed printing ACUMEN to cover this special event, which is splashed over seven pages of this issue.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher October 2012

It's a War Out There

For news, features and chat there’s nothing quite like Japan Today, although there’s often more of the latter than I need. This lively and popular website also carries what Chris Betros, the editor, considers to be the best of BCCJ ACUMEN.
Farewell October 2012


Ambassador Sir David Warren KCMG, who will soon retire from the diplomatic service after four years in Japan, spoke to BCCJ ACUMEN Publisher Simon Farrell.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher September 2012

… We Can Depend on You

When I first came to Tokyo, in 1987, I thought: is this place obsessed with America or what? US flags and other icons were ubiquitous. There was a love hotel built to look like the Statue of Liberty and daily I walked past something called American Boulevard, next to Seibu Shinjuku Station, selling what was considered cool US stuff.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher August 2012

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll?

For decades, one of Britain’s greatest exports and attractions has been music. The Fuji Rock Festival seems to become more UK-centric every year and 2012 was no exception, so we sent along photographer Chris Willson to capture the atmosphere for BCCJ ACUMEN readers. We also profile—and borrowed some images from—Mikio Ariga, who is living the dream as the only official photographer in Japan of what is perhaps the UK’s most proficient export in the rock industry, The Rolling Stones.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher July 2012

To Be Gonged Is to Be Great

Great for recognition, motivation, careers and business, an award is something everyone loves. Personally, I haven’t had one since a campfire-cooking badge at Boy Scouts, but I do enjoy learning how people—especially the lesser known—richly deserve their gong.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders June 2012

A Smoker's Last Stand

Health concerns tipped the balance and encourage the publisher to kick his smoking habit.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher May 2011

Warm Welcome and a Wet Farewell

It’s not often that both an incumbent and a former prime minister visit Tokyo within a month or so of each other, as was the case in April and May. David Cameron arrived first, accompanied by a number of defence manufacturers, and we explore why.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher April 2012

Cover Story

Not everyone will find allure in our striking cover shot of a snarling punk rocker; but then we can hardly be accused of being predictable and staid.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher March 2012

Building the UK-Japan Partnership

Knowing the English language is dominated in Japan by the American model, I was relieved to be handed a free copy of the Financial Times on a recent flight with a US airline from Tokyo to Saipan, a US territory.
Review March 2012

2012 Jeep Compass

Launched here in March this year, the nifty and responsive Compass is a functional wagon with light and consistent steering, clear views all round, and very low noise.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher February 2012

Welcome New Additions

Greetings to Mark Schreiber. Mark and I had previously worked together at another publication and I am delighted that he has agreed to offer his exclusive translations to our media pages. Unless you are intimate with Japanese-language weekly and monthly publications, you probably have not read—or even heard—the news he will cover, be it business or lifestyle related.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders January 2012

ACUMEN’s Growing Readership

Custom Media would like to wish BCCJ members, our readers, advertisers and friends a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012, and we hope you enjoy the first issue of the year. With circulation, readership and recognition greater than ever, the editors, writers, designers and other staff at Custom Media believe that our decision to go monthly has been vindicated. We hope you agree.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders December 2011

BCCJ ACUMEN Survey Results

It’s either bravery or folly to survey your flagship product and publish the results. But here goes.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders November 2011

Diamond in the Rough

It’s refreshing to see success amid the gloom—and politicians getting it right. Cynics rolled their eyes when the government announced a major initiative last year to create a “Silicon Valley” in a gloomy part of London more traditionally known for poverty and a working-class soap opera than shiny offices and innovation.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders October 2011

More Than a Mission

It takes guts, drive and focus to open a business at the best of times, let alone with the present economic mood. So it’s a rare pleasure to encounter people with the necessary faith in a product or service, and to hear their inspiring story, but even more so when that product is British.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders September 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Good places for foreigners to start gauging the state of a country they are considering living in are international schools and relocation services—and that’s the focus of our two “disaster aftermath” special features, on pages 14 and 28. Education and accommodation are key issues for many expatriates and the articles offer valuable insights to help them make the right choices.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders August 2011

Quality Over Quantity

The design industry, mercifully, has prospered since British Leyland and butterfly collars helped make the memorable 1970s a decade of poor taste, with a few exceptions such as the MGB and hot pants. Flicking through this issue, however, you might agree that British form is back. UK clothes, autos and consumer items decorate pages 12, 22, 33 and 38.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher July 2011

Welsh Rarebit

One concern I had when launching ACUMEN was how to please natives of the entire United Kingdom, without the magazine being seen as “too English”. Born near the Severn Bridge, of Anglo-Irish parents, with a Highlands link by wedlock and a history of fractious clan gatherings, I shuddered at the thought.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders June 2011

Best of Both Worlds

If anyone doubts Britain’s commitment to Europe, they probably haven’t read BCCJ ACUMEN recently. The Brussels-based EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation—a joint venture between the EC and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that strongly influences trade talks such as those featured in our cover story this issue—never fails to ask me each month if it can reproduce in their magazine any EU-related stories we feature.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders May 2011

Food for Thought

The different marketing styles of Europe, Asia and North America were starkly illustrated to me recently. As we prepared this issue’s cover story on the multinational Eurofighter consortium’s bid to sell its Typhoon to Japan, Washington embarrassingly failed to make the shortlist to supply its combat aircraft to India because technology from two huge US jet manufacturers was judged inferior to that of Europe.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders April 2011

Pride of Place

Due to the difficulty of sourcing paper since the earthquake and tsunami in March, ACUMEN is a few pages short this month. We’ve also brought forward our CSR features, originally scheduled for the May INDUSTRY special [...]
Simon Farrell Publisher
Leaders March 2011

Building Business Partnerships

People occasionally ask me what the benefits are of BCCJ membership and receiving ACUMEN. Well, apart from the obvious merits of networking, events, information and influence, let me give you a prime example of a modest start-up that partnered with an established global giant, all thanks to the Chamber and its monthly magazine.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher February 2011

Staying Ahead in a Slump

Review December 2010 / January 2011

Lotus Elise

For weekend thrill seekers, here’s a street-legal head turner that is racetrack-orientated, econo-mical to run, fun to drive and wrapped in a beautiful body.
Simon Farrell Publisher
Publisher December 2010 / January 2011

BBA: Behind the Scenes

CSR October / November 2010

Bring on Bailey!

At the Tyler Foundation’s Rhinestone Cowboy fundraising gala dinner on 1 October, the star of the glittering show was not among the many generous bidders for the donated auction items, nor one of the petite cowgirls in revealing denim shorts.