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.

Contrary to popular hysteria in many rich nations, most refugees stay in their region of displacement—meaning 80% live in poor countries.

So what? Well, I have worked as a journalist in southern Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Asia reporting on the plight of refugees from disasters, caused by nature and humans, and I’d like to plug two related good causes.

The first is the Las Vegas-style Executive Fight Night II, scheduled for 24 May in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo ballroom, of which Business in Japan TV host Mike DeJong has kindly volunteered to be auctioneer.

A very deserving cause for both poor and rich nations will benefit: Refugees International Japan (RIJ), a BCCJ member firm which is still busy in the country’s quake-hit areas, as well as in South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Based in Tokyo, RIJ is an independent, registered not-for-profit organisation that channels funds through experienced organisations already working with refugees out in the field, ensuring that assistance goes quickly and directly to rebuild lives and restore human dignity in a sustainable and community-orientated way.

More details:
To sponsor or attend Executive Fight Night II:

Meanwhile, Custom Media, RIJ media partner and publishers of BCCJ ACUMEN, recently finished its latest good-cause design and editorial bilingual project—the very first cookbook by the Japan Association of Refugees.

Flavours Without Borders, produced by Macquarie Group Japan, features traditional, colourful and creative recipes—some adapted to suit gentler Japanese tastes—that were contributed by refugees from Asia, the Middle East and Africa who reside in Japan.

Antony Tran, one of Tokyo’s most proficient—and generous—pro bono photographers, donated most of the superb images.

If you want to be sure that your money goes to help refugees living in Japan, you can buy Flavours Without Borders here:

Finally, with the BCCJ AGM scheduled for 25 April, I’d like to encourage more members to get involved in running the BCCJ.

To learn more about becoming an executive committee member, please email: