Reputation, expertise as a platform
Earlier this month, people celebrated the festival of Setsubun that, according to the Japanese calendar, marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
While shouting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (Out with the devil! In with good fortune!) some individuals no doubt were wishing for an improvement in the national economy as well as, perhaps, in their personal work situation.
While the former change is unlikely to be achieved soon, this time of year can bring real hope to businesses: a new financial year with the attendant goals, projects and budgets.
Making business connections
Relishing their newly found opportunities this year will be a number of British firms that made an impact on buyers and consumers at recent Tokyo events.
The creative duo of Englishman Steven Hall and his Japanese wife, as well as designer Henry Holland, also from the UK, made a splash at Fashion Week Tokyo.
There they accepted awards from DHL that acknowledge the appeal of their respective brands and their proven ability to extend the reach of their creations across borders.
The warm reception of their runway shows is a testament to the fact that, in the fashion industry, UK firms punch well above their weight (page 16).
Also well received was a trade mission that had been organised by UK Trade & Investment as part of GREAT Week Japan.
Covering the sectors of fashion, retail and luxury, as well as food and drink, the initiative involved events at which delegates could showcase their goods and services in the hope of generating new business and expanding existing relationships (page 24).
Respected industry experts
Meanwhile, in the reverse direction, next month London will be host to three Japanese enterprises.
Winners of the first Japan-UK Tech Awards, their goal is to enter a market that is both considered a global base, and renowned as a cutting edge, high-tech centre, replete with highly specialised human resources.
Besides the trip to London, the winners shall receive support in setting up their enterprises (page 27).
Individuals have also been drawing attention.
Martin Barrow, a former president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (1979–’80), has been recognised by the Japanese government for promoting the country as a tourist destination, while Mark Crowther, former president of International Nuclear Services Japan, has received an MBE for services to the British nuclear industry in Japan (page 37).
Using his specialist knowledge, Crowther has played a role in nuclear services that have become a key bilateral industry.
With experience in various facets of the nuclear industry, the UK is home to experts whose work has wide applications. A Cumbria-based firm has developed the world’s first camera-imaging technology for robots that is being used at the plant to map areas that are too radioactive for humans to enter (page 9).
It is to be hoped that UK firms will maintain their leading edge, and continue to blaze trails to further success.