Leaders February 2017

Strong start

People power in the UK community

The British Embassy Tokyo plays an important role in supporting British business in Japan, and so a change of ambassador is always a development of great interest to the business community here. It is a pleasure then to welcome back to Japan Paul Madden CMG FRGS, who lived here 1988–1992, and introduce him with an interview. In addition to discussing his background, he touches on the UK–Japan relationship post-Brexit and his aims as an ambassador.

We make a different kind of introduction as we welcome Guy Perryman for his first BCCJ ACUMEN column. In coming issues, he will be delving into his rich archive of interviews that reflect the more than two decades he has been living in Tokyo. His first column looks back on a 2013 chat he had with Paul McCartney.

BCCJ events
The programme of events for 2017 got off to a particularly strong start, with the British Chamber of Commerce (BCCJ) hosting events ranging from a welcome lunch for Ambassador Madden to insights into the benefits of flexible working. Some of those events will be covered in our March issue, but for now you can read our round-up of the Nuclear Decommissioning: Strategic Partnerships event and extracts from Ambassador Madden’s speech to the BCCJ.

Cool Japan
If parts of Japan seemed a little busier than usual at the end of January, there is a simple explanation—Chinese New Year. With many using the weeklong holiday in China to visit their neighbour to the east, Japan’s tourism growth continued apace. And with major sporting events fast approaching, this trend will continue.

One way that the Japanese government has sought to encourage the uptick in tourism is by appointing so-called Cool Japan Ambassadors. Hailing from a variety of countries, they are tasked with promoting different aspects of the country. A number of these individuals are from the UK, and we have spoken to the latest, Paul Christie, chief executive officer of Walk Japan Ltd. and the 38th Cool Japan Ambassador. He shares with us how he intends to highlight what he considers to be the elegant side of Japan.

As many readers are already aware, in every issue of BCCJ ACUMEN we have various gifts to give away. Those are mainly to be found in our Arts and Book pages, but they are also in other parts of the magazine (see our giveaway of KI NO BI gin on page 22 of the magazine, for example).

These are always well received by readers, but I was particularly pleased to receive an email applying for the copy of ANJIN–The Life and Times of Samurai William Adams, 1564–1620 that was reviewed and given away in January. The reader, a senior executive at an international real estate firm, explained that not only does their life share a lot of coincidences with that of William Adams, but they had even named their son William Anjin after him.

“Anjin means pilot, and we hope that our son navigates the cultural differences between Japan and continental Europe successfully throughout his life”, the reader wrote.