Leaders December 2015

Seizing chances

In business, media and tourism

Members of foreign chambers of commerce in Japan have shown signs of being positive about opportunities for business growth. Some 240 of them responded to the Foreign Chambers in Japan Business Confidence Survey in October and, while not as optimistic about the economy as when previously polled in April, their Japan strategies continue to be bullish.

Some 6% of pollees attributed their improved performance over the previous six months to Abenomics, while over half said it was due to their own efforts—testament to the resilience of many firms to fight for success regardless of the economic situation.

This idea was highlighted at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) 2015 British Business Awards on 13 November. David Bickle, BCCJ president, gave an inspiring speech about what the recent Rugby World Cup 2015 tournament can teach us about sport, business and life.

Bickle and British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO praised this year’s organisers, nominees and winners at the event, which celebrated the very best in UK–Japan relations.

Making headlines

My colleagues and I were delighted, this month, to receive the January 2016 issue of the NHK G-Media Ozumo Journal. It features an article on BCCJ ACUMEN’s exclusive interview with professional sumo wrestler, Goeido, published in October. Our thanks to Nina Oiki, BCCJ global sporting events assistant, for the introduction and follow-up.

In energy, Anglo–Dutch firm Unilever made a splash in November with its announcement that its Japan arm has become the first of its businesses worldwide to switch to 100% renewable power for all its domestic operations.

Icons and brands

The waiting is over for those James Bond fans who eagerly anticipated the Japan launch of the latest film in the series, Spectre, on 4 December.

While media focused on the style and glamour of Naomie Harris, who plays Moneypenny, during her Tokyo visit to promote the film, those in business are exploring how brand Bond might boost their sales.

Jaguar Land Rover launched its Range Rover Sport SVR—which also appears in Spectre—at the Tokyo Motor Show, where it used imagery from the film.

Speaking in October about the ways in which his 13 years of Japan experience is helping shape the future of Aston Martin, Andy Palmer, chief executive of the firm, said it is as the car of James Bond that the brand may be best known. Indeed, the firm is launching an Aston Martin Secret Service, a VIP concierge package.

Meanwhile, in tourism, the Japan office of VisitBritain is hoping its promotion of the locations and lifestyle featured in Spectre will draw greater numbers of visitors to the UK.

Feeling festive

Many of you will no doubt enjoy some wine and cheese over the holiday season. This brings to mind a series of events held in Tokyo this year, at which the Japan office of the Welsh Government was encouraging people to try beer with their cheese.

The initiative was part of a campaign to raise the profile of Welsh cheese and beer, helping producers enter the Japan market. BCCJ ACUMEN is pleased to report that there already has been some success with the products showcased. Watch out for new cheeses in shop fridges soon.

Finally, on behalf of all the team at Custom Media, I hope you have a happy, healthy and fun holiday with your loved ones, and very best wishes for 2016.