Leaders January 2017

The power of networks

Connections as a source of ideas and growth

The traditional New Year tuna auction at Tokyo’s world famous Tsukiji fish market saw a whopping £500,000 bid for a 210kg specimen. Not a record, but a very high price, indeed. It would certainly be welcome were it a sign of confidence in Japan’s economy for the year ahead.

Only time will tell if there is a correlation, but what we do know is that the world will be navigating through significant change in 2017. There will be elections in Europe, the commencement of Brexit negotiations, and the inauguration of a new president in the US.

In times like this, many in business will look to their personal networks as a source of guidance and inspiration. Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary address this phenomenon in their book The Power of Peers, reminding us that the most accomplished business leaders exchange information and ideas, and network to make deals and build partnerships. They work together to establish best practices, and reach out to leaders outside their firms to accelerate growth. In short, they provide one another with value that they cannot find elsewhere.

In this vein, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) will continue to bring to its members people who matter, and in doing so will facilitate opportunities for interaction with peers, clients and stakeholders. Events began on 16 January with a case study of a successful UK–Japan partnership in the nuclear industry, between Sellafield Ltd. and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), and that was followed on 19 January by our new year shinnenkai networking event at the Andaz Hotel.

Then, on 1 February, we are delighted to be welcoming the chief executive officers of BCCJ platinum members Barclays Japan, Jaguar Land Rover Japan and the president of GlaxoSmithKline K.K. for a panel discussion on key business themes for 2017.

Executive Committee
For those members who wish to help shape the direction and programmes of the BCCJ, I urge you to stand in the forthcoming elections for the 2017/18 Executive Committee (Excom). The BCCJ is blessed with a very committed and capable Excom, comprising individuals with a diverse range of experiences and capabilities.

Like any organisation, Excom evolves over time and it is, therefore, with a measure of sadness—but also immense gratitude—that I thank Jonty Brunner and Emily Le Roux, who stepped down from Excom at the end of last year. They have both been generous contributors of their time and talents in support of chamber goals, and we wish them well as they take on new roles.

On the subject of Excom, I would like to close by congratulating Reiko Sakimura of Clifford Chance on being named in December as Asian Legal Business Japan Dealmaker of the year, and Guy Perryman, who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours. Collectively, the individual successes of BCCJ members reflect well on the chamber, and these announcements were a tremendous way to end 2016 and to begin 2017. May they be a harbinger of great things for BCCJ members in the year ahead.