From the BCCJ Hub July / Aug 2020

Doubling down on digital

As many of us take shelter from the drizzle and down­pour (a different kind of UK in Japan?), the chamber has seen a parti­cu­larly active month. We have welcomed a new partnership with the World Economic Series, announced our new BCCJ Quaran-time Master­class event series, explored the future of British Business in Asia with our cham­­ber colleagues in China and equipped members with practical advice on cyber-threats in light of a recent wave of high-profile attacks. All of these stem from digital roots yet arrive in very different formats.

Transforming communications

The BCCJ is now five months into embracing a new digital philosophy, using the web as a unifying force to share knowledge and collaborate at a distance. As a result, we have forged new long-term partner­ships spanning Asia and the UK, adopted an agile new tech infra­struc­ture and seen a remark­able increase in event attendance as well as content reach. It is amazing to think that such advancements could only have been accelerated at such pace by a Covid-shaped catalyst.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on the necessity of digital transformation for business longevity. This was highlighted in the BCCJ’s Covid-19 Business Impact Survey, where imple­menting digital solutions was seen as critical to an organisa­tion’s business continuity plans. My hope now is that we continue to embrace such change beyond Covid-19 and not be deterred by the early frustra­tions of getting things to work—some­thing we have experienced first-hand at the chamber.

Take the never-ending hamster wheel of webinar platforms, for example. Larger corporations cannot always use some platforms; smaller businesses and panellists struggle with others, and others still are great—when they work.

New world in development

Connectivity is something at which Japan excels, having one of the fastest broadband speeds in the world. Yet everyone’s connection always seems to be slightly less good than it needs to be, striking fear in me as I watch panellists’ connections speeds enter dangerous territory, pixels momentarily freezing and occasionally dropping off without notice.

But with this, you have to marvel at the undeniable benefits that digital platforms bring. They keep us connected, allow us to keep moving and—from an event and marketing viewpoint—are like finding new elements on the periodic table that allow for the creation of new interactions.

These tools also provide an exciting glimpse into how events and communications can evolve in the future. Although it is exciting to see where the tech will take us, I don’t think an artificial intelligence-powered bot will be running the chamber in a hurry—but these days you never really know!

How are you using your membership?

Looking ahead, the BCCJ is exploring new ways to increase engagement with our membership—the lifeblood of the chamber—on many levels. We encourage all members to get in contact to discuss how you can maximise the benefits. Please feel free to contact me at

Recent months have shown us just what a rainy season can look like. No doubt many will be looking forward to a less-wet summer period, following which we invite you to get involved in our second Travel and Tourism Think Tank, an event designed to incubate new perspectives and fresh ideas while encouraging new connections from across the travel and tourism industry. We are also excited to announce our Responsible Business Forum, followed shortly by the next in our Quaran-time Master­class series, where Tania Coke of RSA Japan will offer guests a crash course in expression.