Day to day, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) seeks out and nurtures voluntary and collaborative relationships between various parties to connect the private sector with national governments, the international community, civil society and other stakeholders. As with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 17, this can often be with a view to achieving a common purpose or undertaking a specific task and to share resources and benefits.
On 8 March, to mark International Women’s Day, we jointly presented an event entitled “Balance for Better” with two global financial institutions—Barclays Bank plc and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Also joining the event were many BCCJ members and friends, including colleagues from the Bank of Japan, the British Embassy Tokyo, GlaxoSmithKline plc and the W20, the women-focused dialogue that will be part of June’s G20 summit in Osaka. Being able to host the event for about 150 guests at SMBC’s Tokyo headquarters in Marunouchi helped amplify the gender parity message and demonstrated how we, together, can extend our reach and influence on this crucial topic.
Personally, I was thrilled to have two such senior Japanese male business leaders—Barclays Chairman Tetsuya Kodama and SMBC Head of International Business Masahiko Oshima—speaking with sincerity and authenticity at this diversity and inclusion event. It would have been unimaginable four or five years ago.
Engagement with—and promotion of—host cities is a pledge of our Rugby Alliance project, which seeks to foster a legacy of more inclusive, global communities. The effort is being built on the back of this year’s Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC), which is expected to draw more than 400,000 visitors to Japan.
Beyond tickets, it is estimated that the tournament will generate a total output of about ¥437.2bn (£2.97bn), boosting the national gross domestic product by ¥216.6bn (£1.47bn).
This month, I made a rare business trip outside of Tokyo to visit the governmental offices of Kobe City and meet with key representatives. Kobe Misaki Stadium will host four of the 48 RWC matches, including fixtures featuring England (26 September), Scotland (30 September) and Ireland (3 October).
Check out the Rugby Alliance Facebook page for more updates on our activities, which will include outreach messages from the 12 RWC host cities.
In addition to these headline figures, the RWC is nurturing a diverse legacy and has begun to hold promise for regional economies, businesses, communities and families.
For our second large-scale event of the month, we will be co-hosting with our Rugby Alliance colleagues a session entitled “Diversity in Rugby”. The lunchtime gathering and panel discussion on 26 March will be opened by Akira Shimazu, chief executive officer of the RWC 2019 Organising Committee, and closing remarks will be given by RWC 2019 Executive Director Rob Abernethy. Our panellists will be:
- Keiko Asami, World Rugby board member and former head coach of the Japan Rugby Women’s Sevens team
- Magnus Hansson, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Japan
- Fiona Taag, head of Global Sponsorship & Europe Marketing Communications at DHL
- Koji Tokumasu, president of the Shibuya International Rugby Club, senior director of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee and honorary president of Asia Rugby Football Union Pte Ltd
Surrounded by 200 delegates from eight foreign chambers of commerce, you will see the power and potential of rugby in a completely new light. Seating is limited, so be sure to secure your ticket soon through the BCCJ website.