September was a good month for British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) member organisations at the forefront of the UK–Japan business relationship. In industry, Rolls Royce consolidated its position as a key supplier to Hitachi Rail Europe with the announcement of new product supply and maintenance contracts. GlaxoSmithKline was named number one in Fortune magazine’s 2016 list of firms that are changing the world by doing good. And the University of Oxford has been ranked as the world’s best in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings—the first time that this honour has gone to a British academic institution.
Whilst these organisations are among the standard bearers of the UK’s contribution to the advancement of global business, society and culture, they are joined by a myriad number of smaller organisations that collectively drive the UK–Japan relationship.
This fact is reflected in the composition of the BCCJ’s membership, where the chamber is fortunate to act as a platform for the exchange of views between individual and corporate members that vary greatly in terms of size and business model. In spite of these differences, all members share a common appreciation of the value of interaction, particularly between representatives from different nationalities and backgrounds.
Something for all
As a chamber we seek to facilitate this interaction by bringing people who matter to our members. Our secretariat is well aware that the chamber’s broad stakeholder base means that there are some very different perceptions of “who matters”, and this is reflected in the wide range of individuals who have exchanged views with, and in some cases provided autographs for, our members!
September highlights included a roundtable session with UK Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma, who briefed members on Brexit developments. Star quality was then very much in evidence at the end of September when a number of younger members of the British community were able to meet David Beckham at a charity football match to celebrate the success of Kumamoto Prefecture’s youth team.
Between these events, BCCJ members were delighted to be hosted again by our friends from the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce (IJCC) at a magnificent networking reception where we were refreshed with a fine selection of Ireland’s world-famous food and drink. Collaboration with other national chambers reflects the UK’s desire for strong bilateral relations, and we are pleased to be building on this by co-hosting an event on 11 October with the IJCC and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan on the Business of Rugby, to be attended by World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper.
It’s hard to believe that this will be the final issue of BCCJ ACUMEN to reach readers before the 2016 British Business Awards, where 300 guests will gather at the Hilton Tokyo on 11 November to celebrate the contribution of leading businesses to UK–Japan relations this year. I look forward to welcoming you there, and to joining you in reflection at the Commonwealth Remembrance Day event at Hodogaya, Yokohama, on the following Sunday.