Executive Director Nov / Dec 2019

Legacy and leverage

Building on a great year

The Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019 has been deemed a huge success. In addition to the record-breaking 99.3% attendance across the tournament and 1.84mn tickets sold, World Rugby points to a domestic all-time-record television audience of 54.8mn for the exciting Japan vs. Scotland pool-phase match (which I had the chance to see in person, surrounded by Brave Blossom fans!).

The Japan Rugby Football Union views the final—which attracted a record 70,103 spectators at Yokohama Stadium—as just the starting point for their ambitious 10-year growth plan, which includes revamping the domestic professional league.

Rugby Alliance

Over the past 18 months, it’s been a pleasure to co-create and work with the Rugby Alliance, a coalition of eight foreign chambers of commerce in Japan. We wrapped up this initiative on 14 November with a luncheon entitled Pass the Passion.

At the third of three joint events, we reviewed the outcomes and lessons learned from the RWC 2019, addressed matters ranging from accommodation, transportation, benefits to the local community, regional reception of inbound visitors and more. And with the RWC over, we are now looking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Climate crisis

If you want to protect your business in the long term, you have to take action on the climate”. So said Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of television and media firm Sky, at the One Young World 2019 summit in London on 24 October. But how does the climate crisis actually connect to and impact your business and industry in Japan?

On the evening of 21 November, we hosted an interactive session at the BCCJ Hub as part of former US Vice-President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project “24 Hours of Action” global event to explore this topic and discuss the actions we can take collectively. It was a great opportunity for BCCJ member firms to discuss with other attendees how climate change could impact business and share examples and ideas of what can be done to future-proof your operations.


In July, we launched the BCCJ’s EduGroup on the back of our Education Roundtable held in January. On 10 December, we will host a follow-up session entitled The Future of Education in partnership with the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Much has been written about how schools need to prepare students for future employment landscapes and how to bestow the oft-quoted, elusive, yet coveted 21st-century skills needed for life beyond the classroom. Our session will explore what kind of education we would like to see for the next generation and, most importantly, how our firms can contribute to making a difference on the education landscape. We will consider what value we can offer schools and universities, how we can connect to share our expertise and how we can create a shared dialogue between academia and business in Japan.

Since this is the final issue of ACUMEN for 2019, allow me to wish you—on behalf of the BCCJ team—a wonderful festive season and best wishes for the year of the mouse!

On 8 November, after many months of preparation, we successfully delivered the 2019 British Business Awards (BBA). It is a genuine privilege to work with BCCJ members and friends across the industry spectrum to produce a memorable gala that showcases UK–Japan vibrancy, creativity and excellence. Thank you to everyone who made a contribution to this year’s big celebration, and also to those who took the time to write afterwards. Your positive feedback means so much to our team! You’ll find full coverage of this year’s BBA starting on page 18.