As another year draws to a close, we can pause for reflection and feel proud that our shared British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) network has grown steadily over the past 12 months. We now have more members than at any other time in our soon-to-be 70-year history.
In an increasingly volatile and fragmented world, connecting with and staying part of something bigger than your own firm has become ever more important.
Supported by the Executive Committee (Excom) and a generous volunteer workforce, our team of three has worked hard to ensure that the chamber is as meaningful as it can be for firms of all sizes across 40 industries, creating platforms for discussion on matters of global importance, as well as on topics to support you at the coalface of your business.
Running 40 events per year is the most visible thing we do, but behind the scenes is where the most significant work for members is done: forging public–private sector partnerships, helping a firm find a new lawyer, brokering a commercial tie-up, securing key pieces of industry intel for a business proposal or introducing potential employees. Without a doubt, the most rewarding days are those on which we touch and help the most members. And no two days—or members—are the same.
The year ahead
Looking ahead, we can bank on a full year of celebrations as the BCCJ marks its platinum anniversary.
The first event will be our New Year Party, to be held in the luxurious surroundings of the Park Hyatt Tokyo on 17 January. Soon after will follow Forecast 2018, and then a variety of events on hot topics for UK–Japan commercial relations such as cybersecurity, initial public offerings, joint ventures, as well as travel and tourism.
In May, we will delight in a Royal Wedding, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot at Windsor Castle. While tourists will flock to the UK in droves, BCCJ members can rest assured that we will celebrate the couple’s big day in style.
Of course, the calendar would not be complete without our annual British Business Awards in November. We welcome your participation in our 2018 headline event as a sponsor, attendee or nominee. Since we’ll be celebrating such a big milestone for the chamber, we’re sure the best seats in the house will soon be snapped up, so be certain to secure your corporate table by the deadline of 31 July.
If you make one contribution to the BCCJ in 2018, think about refreshing your membership list. Corporate members, why not replace some of your more mature male representatives with rising stars—including women? At BCCJ events these people represent your firm and become its face. Resolve to put your best, most progressive foot forward next year and make a difference to the strength and relevance of our community.
Having started the year as a full-time mum and ending it as full-time executive director, my cup overfloweth. Thanks to an empathetic Excom, agile BCCJ office team, flexible working conditions and a husband on paternity leave, my return to work has been smooth and enjoyable. For these things, and your continued support, I am grateful.
Happy holidays to you, your teams, families and friends—and we will see you in 2018!