Executive Director April 2019

Hello, Reiwa!

Riding the waves of change

The first day of April marked the beginning of a new year for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ). It also gave us our first taste of a new period for the country with the reveal that Reiwa will be the name of the next imperial era, which will begin on 1 May.

Uncharted territory for the BCCJ this month will include welcoming to the team Noriko Mita, who joins us as assistant events coordinator on 15 April. With Noriko onboard, we are set to deliver a superlative business-to-business event experience for members and guests throughout 2019 and 2020, which promise to be mega years for Japan.

These events will include a suite of industry-specific roundtables and summits, the goal of which will be to promote the building of private- and public-sector partnerships and to facilitate business-matching between the Japan and UK.

Annual General Meeting

All BCCJ members are invited to attend this year’s  Annual General Meeting at the Roppongi Hills Club on 24 April. Starting at 6:30pm, opening remarks will be given by British Ambassador to Japan Paul Madden CMG. You will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of our Executive Committee (Excom), which will be elected formally on that evening to serve you in the 2019–20 fiscal year. For the coming year, the Excom will comprise:

  • Alison Beale, the University of Oxford Japan Office
  • David Bickle (President), Deloitte Tohmatsu Tax Co.
  • James Dodds, KPMG
  • Will Farquhar, Aston Martin Japan
  • Iain Ferguson, Lloyd’s Japan Inc.
  • Susumu Kaminaga, individual member
  • Tove Kinooka, Global Perspectives K.K.
  • Kentaro Kiso, Barclays Securities Japan Limited
  • Dr. Florian Kohlbacher, The Economist Group
  • Paul Lirette, GlaxoSmithKline KK
  • Heather McLeish, EY Japan
  • Reiko Sakimura, Clifford Chance Law Office
  • Noriko Silvester, Candlewick Co., Ltd.
  • Richard Thornley CBE, individual member
  • Trevor Webster, Taylor Brunswick K.K.

Joining for the first time are Lirette and Kiso.

“Having spent more than half of my 30-year financial career working and living in London, I believe I can make an important contribution, helping to promote, develop, build and strengthen the excellent partnership that Japan enjoys with the United Kingdom,” said Kiso. “Both 2019 and 2020 will be crucial years for the Anglo-Japanese relation­ship. Brexit, the G20, the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics and Paralympics will create opportu­ni­ties which I would like to help support and develop as part of the Executive Committee of the BCCJ”.

Lirette said: “As a leader of a British based world-leading healthcare firm, I would like to bring my experience and passion to Excom. I have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and took leading positions in several countries. During the years, I have especially been keen on creating inclusive cultures where diverse opinions are shared and respected. I would like to contribute to enhancing diversity and inclusion in Japan, based on my experience. I would also like to foster more partnerships between British and Japanese businesses this year, particularly in life sciences, innovation and technology”.

Time off

Soon after the Annual General Meeting comes Japan’s extended holiday period known as Golden Week, which this year will last for 10 days with the addition of days to mark the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito as the Reiwa Emperor.

There have been mixed reviews about the holiday on social media and in the press, with Japanese workers struggling to come up with ways to fill their time. Local shops and neighbourhood restaurants are expected to close for the duration. I look forward to spending my time off with friends and family, including my mum, who’ll be making her 12th trip from Dundee to Tokyo.