Leaders January 2016

Optimism for 2016

Building on solid UK–Japan ties

If the strengthening of UK–Japan relations seen in 2015 is any measure of prospects for this year, the following 12 months surely will be exciting.

There were a record number of M&As conducted in the UK by Japanese firms, and sizable Japanese investment in British regions was seen.

While these moves are undeniably positive, if cultural differences between local and expat staff are not recognised, problems may arise. Our latest FDI article explores how and why M&A teams are becoming increasingly culturally aware.

In December, at the British Embassy Tokyo, UK Trade & Investment held its first dedicated fintech event outside Europe and North America. Showcased were 10 firms offering forward-thinking technology in the finance space.

Home to the world’s largest centre for fintech, London is leading the sector, with investment there growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

Revolutionary ideas pitched to the Japanese market included the Retail Teller Machine, featured on our cover this month. It accepts international bank cards and dispenses a ticket that can be exchanged for cash. As Japan attracts increasing numbers of overseas visitors, technology such as this will no doubt be welcome.

Food for thought

Also, in December, Tamao Sako, founder of The British Pudding, was named the winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Japan in the Best Pastry Book category for her publication British Cake Stories.

Sako told BCCJ ACUMEN of her passion for teaching Japan about British sweets, and her experiences touring the UK for her new book.

In September, a new translation of Soji Shimada’s debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, was released. We can reveal that the best-selling author’s inspiration is Sherlock Holmes.

Many of you will find a familiar face in this issue; Stuart Varnam-Atkin, who has appeared in numerous TV programmes and Tokyo plays, shared his experiences selling English in Japan.

Time for change?

In December, the world’s attention focused on Paris, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held. Ahead of the landmark meeting, Sir David King, the British foreign secretary’s special representative on climate change, spoke in Tokyo on why the stakes are high to address global warming.

BCCJ ACUMEN explores what impact the development of China and India might have on the environment, and who might pay for the move towards a carbon-free society.

To the year ahead

Pundits have been optimistic about 2016, pointing to Japan’s hosting of the G7 conference in Mie Prefecture, the national women rugby side’s prospects at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the likelihood of a continued rise in tourist numbers.

From the BCCJ ACUMEN team, all the best for the Year of the Monkey.