Leaders February 2015

Learning together

Role models from big business, entrepreneurs and Japanese culture

Connecting industry with education is an ongoing endeavour at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), bringing new ideas and energy to our member firms and young people alike.

On 22 January, 40 students from Kokura Minami Senior High School, in Fukuoka Prefecture, visited us to learn about doing business in a global setting.

Working women
Hosted at the offices of platinum member BT Japan Corporation, the seminar began with a talk by President Haruno Yoshida.

Showing the importance of connecting Japan with the rest of the world, Yoshida set up a live link to staff in the firm’s Sydney and Hong Kong offices. While sharing her experiences of working abroad, she reminded the students that they are “the future of Japan”.

Her colleague Kaoru Iino, marketing manager, spoke about her time studying for an MBA in an international environment.

Career advice
The students were given a sneak peek at how Japan’s telecommunications might look in 2020 by Phil Morris, chief technology officer of the firm.

From his experience of delivering and safeguarding network security services for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Morris suggested that cyber security would be a good career option, particularly as the global spotlight will soon be on the nation.

There followed a talk by entrepreneur Jeremy Sanderson, head of BCCJ member firms Icon Partners K.K. and the Japan office of Compass Offices. A former police officer and tour guide in the UK, Sanderson attributes his current status of running five businesses in Japan to “never being afraid to take risks”.

The Shinkansen
On 29 January, BCCJ members enjoyed a behind-the-scenes visit, hosted by member firm JR Central, to see the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Our group visited JR Central’s General Education Center, the General Control Center, and Shinkansen Maintenance Tokai Co. in Tokyo to better understand the scale of operations.

I was impressed to meet young female Shinkansen drivers, and I took away a renewed respect for the “Japanese way”, including mind-boggling technology operated by dedicated people, and supported by a holistic training programme: a lesson for all businesses.

Thank you for your support
BP Japan answered a request, published on our Weekly Round Up from the British Council, to help fund an international field trip for the Society of Petroleum Engineers Imperial College Student Chapter.

As a result, the students will visit Japan in May, and the BCCJ is delighted to have played a small part in making this happen.

Thanks also to BCCJ member Yoko Majima, who played a role in my becoming a permanent resident of Japan last month.

I look forward to spending many more years serving BCCJ members and the UK–Japan relationship, while continuing to grow with you all.