Leaders January 2014

Galloping Ahead

2014 brings fresh challenges and exciting changes

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true

–Alfred Tennyson

Happy New Year. Lord Tennyson’s words seem particularly apt for Japan this year, as the winning kanji for 2013, announced on 12 December, was 輪 (rinwa).

This character means “ring”, and the main reason for its choice was the selection of Tokyo as host of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games—五輪 (gorin) means “five rings”.

Other reasons were also cited for the choice, including the hope that the “circle of support” for the recovery of areas impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami will expand.

I trust that all of you had the chance for a break. I expect you are fully refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead during the Year of the Horse—which is apparently going to be a powerful yet relaxed year.

While business is all about looking forward, allow me to look back to the last quarter of 2013, when we said farewell to two long-serving Executive Committee members: Vishal Sinha from British Airways and Paul Atkinson, previously of Cornes Insurance—whose personal contributions helped grow and shape the BCCJ, especially the success of the British Business Awards.

Thank you Vishal and Paul, you will be missed.

Please join me in welcoming two new members to the Executive Committee—Jonathan Brunner, regional commercial manager, Japan & Korea, British Airways; and Haruno Yoshida, representative managing director of BT Japan.

I am sure their contributions will be just as substantial as those of their predecessors.

We have an exciting year planned, starting with our first event on 17 January. Manchester United’s Jamie Reigle, managing director Asia Pacific, will share key insights about the club.

BCCJ Executive Committee election time is also fast approaching. With nomination forms being circulated in early March, I’m sure this year’s election will be just as nail-biting, if not more so, than last year’s.

On the subject of elections, the European Business Council (in which the BCCJ and all its member firms are stakeholders) will be electing a new chair. The deadline for voting will be close of business on 11 February. For further information please visit www.ebc-jp.com.

I hope to see you at the BCCJ Shinnenkai on 30 January. All the best to you, your families and your businesses in 2014.