Leaders November 2013

Remember, Remember the Month of November

Business is thriving thanks to investment and community efforts

The 2013 British Business Awards, held with such great success on 1 November, may be a distant memory for some, but will remain a night to remember for the winners.

Congratulations again to all seven champions across the six categories, and thank you to all nominees for having taken part. A report of the evening’s proceedings is available on the BCCJ website along with a photo gallery. See if you can spot yourself!

It was my honour to address everyone present with some remarks about the chamber, its role and our collective opportunities. Please allow me to use my speech as a basis for this column.

I would like to say what a privilege and pleasure it is to be president of such a growing, vibrant and successful chamber.

In addition to our excellent events, I am also proud of our community efforts, which this year have focused on Books for Smiles. The project has already raised the impressive sum of ¥8mn.

As well as the sixth annual British Business Awards, the chamber is celebrating its 65th anniversary during the 400th year of Japan–UK diplomatic relations. We’ve got a great history to look back on.

But the awards and the evening were about the present and the future, which is what really excites me. Business is all about looking forward.

For me, Japan is still a land of opportunity for British business, and this year’s awards reflect many of the remarkable things that are going on through investment, entrepreneurship, partnership and community activity, as well as outstanding individual efforts.

The sheer number of entries and the number of guests at the ceremony showed there are a lot of fantastic things going on. But it is not just about the chamber and all that we do.

It is also about Japan, Abenomics, the forthcoming Olympics and all the opportunities that exist now and in the future for our members, British business and British creativity.

If I may, I’d like to recognise some of the people who make the chamber and awards what they are.

None of this could have been done without the amazing work of our secretariat—Lori, Samata-san and the Executive Committee—and especially the efforts of the 28-strong BBA taskforce led by BCCJ Vice President Suzanne Price.

We also enjoy great support from the British Embassy Tokyo, and extend our particular thanks to Ambassador Tim Hitchens for presenting the awards, and to Sue Kinoshita and the UKTI team for their ongoing support.

I would also like to thank our headline sponsor, the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as the British Council, IELTS and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for having helped to make the event possible; we couldn’t have done it without you.

Lastly, a moment of reflection for us all. Sunday, 10 November brought people together for the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama, to honour the servicemen and women who have fallen during conflict.

Although business is going well and the chamber is thriving, we must not forget our debt to the past.