The magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Wasabi, yuzu, black vinegar, nettles and seaweed might seem unlikely ingredients for a British chocolatier building a growing reputation in London, but a touch of inspiration from his Japanese wife is helping keep William Curley’s boutique stores in Belgravia and Richmond very busy. The products are proving so successful that a selection of William and Suzue Curley’s creations will soon be available at Takashimaya department stores for the first time.
Red tape and rigid adherence to regulations stopped a number of foreign firms from providing help and specialist expertise in the immediate aftermath of the 11 March disasters in north-east Japan, while other firms say their efforts to render assistance to the homeless and destitute were frustrated because the markets here are effectively closed to outsiders.
Who Guards the Guards?
Michael Woodford is getting all the plaudits for uncovering shady deals to allegedly cover up $1.5bn in investment losses at Olympus Corp., but the British former chief executive of the firm emphasised that credit for the scandal being uncovered belongs elsewhere.
BRITISH BUSINESS AWARDS 2011
The fourth British Business Awards (BBA) attracted a record number of entrants across the five categories, with the glittering presentation ceremony on 4 November that raised about ¥3.2mn to support business regeneration and capacity-building in Tohoku.
Haneda or Narita?
The chrome and glass at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and the international terminal at Haneda Airport gleam and sparkle, the lines for immigration and customs are orderly, rapid and unfailingly polite, while both facilities are efficient, clean and secure.
The Straight-talking Scouser
Taking over as president of Olympus Corporation on 1 April, Michael Woodford MBE joined the small but growing group of foreign bosses at Japanese firms. Based in Tokyo and known as the man who turned around Olympus’ European operations, the 51-year-old Liverpudlian talks about being an insider, an outsider and making changes.
When Driving Is a Joy
For Yuuichiro Nakajima, nothing comes close to driving his Morgan with the hood down and the wind in his hair. This classic motor may have a few drawbacks on the roads of Japan—his British racing green Plus 4 four-seater is somewhat lacking in the suspension department, for example—but there’s still nothing quite like taking out a special car for a spin, he believes. And it doesn’t hurt that it attracts so many covetous glances from others.
Cloud Over BCP
Anyone who was in Japan on 11 March will remember where they were at 2:46pm that day. Anyone in business will equally recall the chaos of the following days—of staff marooned when train lines shut down, of power cuts and the loss of communications, of dealing with concerned head offices and relocating facilities and staff to other parts of the country—or even overseas.
The €100bn Deal
After years of tough negotiations, the European Union and Japan at last agreed in Brussels on 28 May to discuss a free-trade deal that would link the world’s largest market with the third-biggest economy.
Pitching the Eurofighter
The opposition may have impressive pedigrees, but they are up against a thoroughbred in the shape of the Eurofighter Typhoon as the race to provide the Japan Air Self-Defense Force with its next-generation fighter enters the final stretch.
The British Effort
The UK was among the first of about 100 countries to offer help after the Great Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake struck on 11 March. Here is the harrowing story of how three innovative British aid agencies made a difference, written and photographed by two of the first witnesses of the aftermath.
So. Farewell Then
After close to a quarter of a century as executive director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Ian de Stains OBE believes he has had “a good innings”. He is stepping aside to allow some new blood to head the organisation and to pursue a number of new ventures.
2010 BCCJ BRITISH BUSINESS AWARDS
The very best of business acumen in the challenging Japanese market was on display at the 3rd annual British Business Awards, held at the Conrad Tokyo hotel on 19 November — an event guest speaker Ian de Stains OBE described as demonstrating the “excellence” that has been applied here by firms both large and small.
FT Stands for Authority, Integrity and Accuracy
Famously pink, the Financial Times is instantly recognisable and globally respected as the autho-
ritative voice on all that goes on in the world of finance and business.
BIG IN JAPAN
An entire wall of the lobby at the IBSC JETRO Invest Japan Business Support Center is taken up by colourful pamphlets declaring “Fascinating Kanagawa: Best place for your business”, and “Saitama City: Business hub in the new era”, plus the more prosaic “Industry of Ehime”. Clearly, Japanese prefectures want foreign business.
Britain: Open for Business
Britain was an attractive destination for Japanese foreign direct investment long before the yen’s dramatic appreciation against sterling. The doomsayers who warned, years ago, that Japan would pull out of the UK unless it joined the euro zone have been proved wrong. On the contrary, Britain attracts more Japanese investment than any other country in Europe.
There are some ideas so revolutionary, so simple, and so blindingly clever that they deserve all the acclaim they receive. As millions of house-proud people around the world would tell you, the bag-free vacuum cleaner launched in 1993 by Dyson is right up there with sliced bread.
2009 British Business Awards
It may have been a testing 12 months for firms large and small everywhere, but the BCCJ's 2009 British Business Awards gala dinner on 26 November underlined the excellence in the UK business community here.
Given the myriad challenges of today, now may seem an inopportune time to talk about Japan's future.
The list of culprits is long and menacing: deep recession, ballooning public debt, demo-graphic change, political flux and competition from emerging economies.
But could Japan's current economic crisis — the kind, as we are often reminded, that appears only once a century — also be an opportunity to set the country on a new course?