Leaders July 2016

Going the distance

Interest in global sports continues to grow

While the world has been enthralled by Brexit, Euro 2016 and Super Rugby, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) team has been keeping a number of balls in the air.

Champs of British biz
We are delighted to welcome Standard Life Investments Limited as our newest platinum member.

This takes our top-tier member number to a full complement of six: AstraZeneca, BT Japan, GlaxoSmithKline K.K., Jaguar Land Rover Japan, Robert Walters and Standard Life Investments—led in Japan by fellow Scot and University of St Andrews alumnus Neil Slater.

Global sports
It was a pleasure to welcome a new UK-based entrepreneur member to the BCCJ, last month. Alad Ltd., a family-owned media firm established in 1995, will be responsible for, among other things, delivering the Stadia and Arena Asia Pacific event in Yokohama on 26–28 September.

Neil Levett, chief executive, said: “Japanese stakeholders invited Alad Ltd. to come to Japan as the thirst for knowledge is increasing in the run up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympics and 2021 Kansai Masters”.

Firms interested in the logistics of global sporting events are encouraged to get in touch with Neil, whose details are listed in our online BCCJ Directory. He will also lead a roundtable discussion for the BCCJ Global Sporting Events Champions network, at the end of July.

On 22 June, I spoke at a global agenda seminar, at Roppongi Academyhills. Topics included Brexit (the referendum was the next day), the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the differences between the working styles of the UK and Japan.

There were questions on the legacy benefits of London 2012 as well as how Japan can deliver a more diverse international Games and stage exciting, relevant opening and closing ceremonies at Tokyo 2020. It is clear the appetite for collaboration between the two nations remains strong.

The number of enquiries related to global sporting events that we are receiving is increasing. We continue to work closely with UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy Tokyo and headquarters in London—as well as the Export to Japan team—to ensure they are managed efficiently and effectively.

Supporting disadvantaged youth
Congratulations to Knights in White Lycra (KIWL)—comprising a number of BCCJ members—who so far this year have raised ¥9.2mn for non-profit organisation Mirai no Mori, which works to empower abused, neglected and orphaned children through outdoor programmes.

This money will fund 20 children living in Japan’s care homes to attend summer camps for the next three years, and help start a Leader in Training programme dedicated to enhancing these young people’s skills.

KIWL and Mirai no Mori will speak at the BCCJ’s third annual Community Hub event, in September, powered by the PechaKucha format created by fellow member Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture). Please join us to hear about their tales of commitment and perseverance.

Marathon of motherhood
Finally, on a personal note, I plan to be entering another marathon this year—not the Tokyo race, but motherhood. The BCCJ Executive Committee is working on a plan for my maternity leave, and I look forward to serving you all until it’s almost the big day—and beyond.