Associate Director May / June 2020

Digital balance

Looking ahead to the chamber’s “new normal”

With every headline and conversation over the past two months being domi­nated by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been crucial for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) to take all necessary precautionary measures in keeping safe, while also fulfilling its duty of providing up-to-date information on the latest developments related to the coronavirus, government updates and best business practices.

This has been achieved by establishing our Covid-19 Resource Centre and Default to Action webinar series in February, in which we welcomed an array of expert speakers to share their business insights, knowledge and advice on how to navigate the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19.

Digital chamber

Like many workplaces, the BCCJ has embraced an entirely digital transformation triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. Notwithstanding the severity of the situation, our adaptation to digital content has been an opportunity to reach a larger audience and a chance to also connect with British chambers of commerce in other regions, with whom we have collabo­rated over the course of the different stages of the pandemic. And our members will continue to have reciprocal event access with these regional chambers.

It has been seven weeks since the state of emergency was first declared in Japan, and, at the time of writing, the last of the emergency controls have just been lifted across the nation. But what does this mean for business in Japan? As we tiptoe our way into what Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and leaders around the world are referring to as the “new normal,” and as we all begin the long-awaited shift from response to recovery, we find ourselves not simply returning to the life and work we knew before but reimagining what these should look like, given the changes that this global pandemic has created.

While we warmly anticipate the physical meeting, greeting and catching up, we will remain socially responsible as we navigate our new normal, aware of the consequences of returning too quickly. How to safely reopen organisations and the economy without generating a second wave of infections is something that is on all our minds, and it will remain a factor of paramount importance in the BCCJ’s strategy.

Digital General Meeting

Over the past few months, we have made it our mission to remain socially connected while staying physically apart, and this is exactly how we plan to deliver this year’s Annual General Meeting. The event will be held online starting at 6pm on 4 June and will comprise all the usual agenda items. Opening remarks will be delivered by the British Ambassador to Japan Paul Madden CMG, followed by a review of the past chamber year from BCCJ President David Bickle. You will also have a chance to meet and ask questions of our new Executive Committee. We look forward to seeing you there—and hopefully also in person before too long.