Leaders October 2014

Record-breaking month of events

Sports, social and Shine Weeks

In September, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) ran a record number of seven events.

Sport and social
Congratulations to Iain Ferguson, BCCJ excom member, who picked up the individual champion trophy at our most recent golf day.

Organised by the BCCJ golf taskforce led by Richard Straughan, around 40 members and guests enjoyed the “Japan vs rest of the world tournament” at the Brick & Wood Club in Chiba Prefecture on 13 September.

The rest of the world claimed overall victory. Thank you to Moet Hennessy Diageo, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Armani/Ristorante, InterContinental Hotels Group, Berry Bros. & Rudd, as well as Hynd and Peak K.K. who generously donated prizes.

British Consul-General Michael Shearer OBE (see page 41) joined over 60 members of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Japan on 17 September at a social evening in Osaka.

Held at the Swissôtel Nankai Osaka, this event followed our Tokyo Euromixer in March, allowing guests the chance to expand their business network beyond the Kanto region.

Over 100 members of the BCCJ and the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce gathered for our annual “A Night with the Irish”, held at the Irish ambassador’s residence on 25 September.

As well as enjoying the freely flowing Guinness from member Diageo plc, guests were also pleased to have the chance to meet newly appointed Irish Ambassador to Japan Anne Barrington, who took up her post in September.

Supporting government
An event highlight of mine was “What do we really want? Women and Womenomics”, held at BT Japan in Ark Hills on 19 September.

The panel discussion was held in support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan’s Shine Weeks initiative, and supported by the British Embassy Tokyo.

It brought together women executives—from BT Japan, Hays plc and Price Global—as well as BCCJ member organisations and 18 students and graduates (see page 16).

The young people in the audience suggested that a conflict has emerged in their minds between the traditional Japanese culture of wa (harmony) and the self-expression required to reach their potential in the 21st century workplace.

On the road to 2020
At our final event of the month at the Conrad Tokyo on 26 September (see page 34), Christopher Rodrigues CBE, chairman of VisitBritain, and Ryoichi Matsuyama, president of the Japan National Tourism Organization, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on tourism in relation to Tokyo 2020.

At the behest of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan is now aiming to reach the lofty goal of attracting 20mn foreign tourists by 2020. Matsuyama quipped that, “this is easy to say, but not so easy to do”.