Leaders November 2014

Sparking dialogue

Deal inked on mega sport events

We have enjoyed a momentous couple of months at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ).

Following a record number of events in September, in October we were delighted to work with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) on the opportunities presented for business by the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On 27 October we hosted an important discussion, to which we were honoured to welcome Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Livingston, British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO and distinguished members of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives).

Before taking up his ministerial portfolio, Livingston was chief executive of BT Group plc, during the period that the firm was London 2012 official communications services partner.

He is, therefore, in a strong position to provide insightful testimony on the challenges and rewards that the business world may face in supporting the organisers of the forthcoming sporting tournaments in Tokyo.

Having hosted London 2012, and relishing the prospect of hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the UK has been fortunate to witness first hand the effective business collaboration opportunities that these events can bring.

Future mega events offer similar potential, particularly where organisers commit to searching beyond their borders for “best in class” providers who can help them plan and deliver extraordinary tournaments that will yield an enduring legacy for the host nation.

This event marked the launch of a dialogue between BCCJ members, partners and Japanese stakeholders on the potential for collaboration. Moreover, I was delighted to sign an agreement between the BCCJ and UKTI that will enhance the chamber’s efforts to contribute to these great sporting events (see page 25).

Under the agreement, the BCCJ will receive funding to recruit a dedicated resource. This person will work towards our goal of providing a platform for BCCJ members and UK firms to understand the opportunities associated with these sporting events, and for Tokyo organisers to understand the interest and expertise of British businesses.

Recognising BBA judges
As this issue goes to print, the judges of the British Business Awards are working on the fiendishly difficult task of selecting the winners of the 2014 awards.

We give them our special thanks for selecting the best of British business from a perennially strong cohort of nominees.

A poppy to remember
Finally, in this year, which marks the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, we remember this November those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of their country.

For those wishing to support the Royal British Legion’s poppy campaign, donations can be made at the BCCJ office.