Leaders July 2014

Teach and learn

Youth and community efforts help drive progress

What could be more coveted or valuable for taking on a challenge than experience? Most interestingly perhaps, it can be the trying times, as well as the positive ones, that shape us for the better.

Participants in the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) are certainly firm believers of this idea. They shared their sense of achievement on completing the challenging programme at its annual award ceremony on 19 June (page 34).

A key aspect of JMEC, now in its 20th year, is a focus on developing young professionals; project clients, judges and sponsors agree it is achieving its goal.

Armed with valuable cross-cultural skills honed through instruction, hands-on learning and an international working environment, graduates of JMEC are ready and able to provide a cross-cultural contribution that is of increasing necessity in Japan today.

JET: giving back
Similarly, international exchange is featured in a new column this month (page 48). The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme promotes mutual understanding through grassroots exchange activities, foreign language education and sport between participants from countries worldwide and their Japanese host communities.

It has won domestic and international acclaim, for not only the great work participants have done while serving as JETs, but also the long-lasting impact they continue to have afterwards, both professionally and socially. As such, the scheme provides a pool of talent for UK–Japan activity.

The new ACUMEN column will showcase former JETs, in the UK and Japan, who continue to foster bilateral ties across a wide range of fields. As a former JET myself, I too, feel that the power of my positive experience keeps the spirit of the programme very much alive in me.

Rugby, olympics
Tapping into lessons learned is something that the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) executive committee (excom) is keen to do.

Excom member Graham Davis outlines BCCJ’s work to engage Tokyo in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 for the benefit of members and the wider UK business community across the country (page 29).

Reader competition
This issue also includes the chance to experience the thrill of driving Jaguar’s new F-TYPE coupé for a weekend, as part of our feature on why British actors make such excellent baddies (page 32).

Simply tweet #bestbadbritactor, naming your favourite film or TV villain from the UK, and giving a reason for your choice. Enter by 22 August for a chance to win.

Get your creative juices flowing—which Executive Director Lori Henderson MBE believes are so important (page 15)—or why not pool ideas with friends and family? After all, you could be getting away together in one of the best getaway vehicles money can buy. In fact, perhaps I should start thinking of my top choice, too.