Held at the Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo, our 2016 annual general meeting (AGM) was opened by a welcome from British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO. He highlighted the successes enjoyed by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) and its members over the past year.
He acknowledged the work of members in support of UK–Japan sport relations, explaining that the British Embassy Tokyo and UK Trade & Investment are delighted to continue collaborating with the BCCJ on projects related to the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On behalf of BCCJ President David Bickle of Deloitte Tomatsu Tax Co., Jonty Brunner of British Airways, BCCJ vice-president, gave remarks on the 2015–16 chamber year.
He thanked the chamber’s Executive Committee (Excom), office team, independent auditors—Okamoto & Company—and Graham Davis, former chamber head of events and global sporting events, who has stepped down after serving eight years on Excom.
The president’s formal annual report outlined how the chamber has increased business links and networking opportunities for all members in 2015–16.
This has included hosting a record-breaking 45 high-value events, welcoming around 2,650 attendees in total. A record number of non-members and female participants attended.
BCCJ membership has continued to grow by 10.1% year-on-year, to just shy of 900 members.
David Bickle was elected by acclamation as chairperson of Excom and president of the BCCJ for a third term. The new Excom, statement of accounts and appointment of auditors (Okamoto & Company) were all approved unanimously.
For more information on the individuals who will serve on Excom for the new chamber year, as well as the roles they will undertake on your behalf, see www.bccj.com.
A question was raised regarding the BCCJ’s position on the forthcoming referendum to determine the UK’s membership of the European Union. While the chamber takes a neutral position, there will be a poll of BCCJ members in the lead up to the once-in-a-generation vote on 23 June, so please keep your eyes on your inbox.
We will also host an event to tackle the issue, led by the British ambassador, and moderated by Dan Slater of the Delphi Network, on 14 June.
Over recent months, the UK government has worked with partners to inform Britons resident in Japan that they may be eligible to vote. We hope BCCJ members have pledged to have their say on 23 June.
Thank you very much to all those who joined the AGM, and to the team at the Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo for their hospitality.
Thanks also to Steve Dewire, general manager of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, whose kind donation on the evening took us beyond the ¥9mn total for our Books for Smiles programme.
Supported by the 2016–2017 Excom, the secretariat looks forward to an active and exciting chamber year ahead.