Leaders October 2015

Fresh thinking

On people, policies and places

Being big is particularly hard for a woman, according to this month’s cover model. Yet, for Hali Keenan, size is a good thing: it is one of the reasons she has become the UK’s No. 1 female sumo wrestler.

Also topping the table in the heavy and middleweight categories, respectively, are a father and son from Yorkshire. BCCJ ACUMEN met them the day before they competed in the 20th Sumo World Championships in Osaka.

In an exclusive interview, ozeki (second-highest rank in sumo) Goeido, shared words of wisdom for the duo and his respect for British culture.

Delivering change

As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Womenomics policies grow in number, so, too, are the voices that question his methods and their delivery. At the 20th International Conference for Women in Business in July, the overwhelming message was that, although legislation helps, it is personal action by women that is required if there is to be lasting change.

Meanwhile, speakers at a British Chamber of Commerce in Japan event last month discussed the status of work to empower women in Japan—and the UK—and revealed amazing statistics showing Japanese women favour traditional gender roles.

New hot spot

After having joined VisitBritain’s ExploreGB trip for the Japanese travel trade to Birmingham earlier this year—while reporting for BCCJ ACUMEN’s May feature “Britain off the beaten track”—I was delighted to attend a follow-up event at the British Embassy Tokyo last month.

Attendees in the packed room heard about the city’s many new cultural highlights and its neighbouring areas, as well as from panellists who had experienced the trip first hand.

Based on feedback from the event, it would not be a surprise were the Midlands to move up in the ranks of popular places for Japanese to visit.

Making records

The British blind sailing team who were featured in the August issue have returned from the IFDS Blind Sailing World and International Championships in Chicago with a raft of medals. Skipper Sharon Grennan wrote to BCCJ ACUMEN to report the team had, in addition, retained the Squadron Cup for being the top-placed country overall. Congratulations to the team.

In this issue, a fellow blind athlete and her disabled co-worker have a story of determination, in sport and work.

Your comments

In Japan, it is said that autumn is the best season for enjoying reading, sports, the arts and eating (due to a regained appetite). With that in mind, I shall leave you to peruse this issue, packed with the best of UK–Japan-related activities in those areas. As always, we welcome your feedback.