Leaders September 2014

Welcoming tourists and new initiatives

Active event calendar for coming months

Welcome back to members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) who have been travelling over the summer. For those who stayed in Japan, you were in good company!

In a trend that should bring a smile to the faces of policy makers and businesses alike, the number of tourists arriving on these shores has been on the increase.

In April this year—for the first time in 44 years—spending in Japan by tourists from abroad exceeded the amount spent overseas by Japanese according to the Ministry of Finance.

Driven by an increase in the number of visitors from other Asian countries, and aided by a weaker yen, tourism is a welcome source of economic growth for Japan, and one that has huge potential for development.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games should be further catalysts that drive tourism. In this respect, the BCCJ is honoured to be hosting an event on 26 September with Visit Britain’s global chairman, Christopher Rodrigues CBE.

Immediately before the event, Rodrigues will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan National Tourism Organization that will signify an important commitment to cooperation between Japan and the UK, in the two areas of the Games and tourism.

Work hard, play hard
Our events programme in September displays only some of the activities in which the chamber is involved. On 11 September, speakers from the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism provided insight into global news and media.

Then, on 16 September, we welcomed James Hollow, president of global digital advertising agency Lowe Profero Japan. He shared his entrepreneurial experience of growing a marketing business in Japan.

The list continues with the BCCJ’s “Shine Weeks” event. Hosted by BT Japan, it involves BCCJ member firms Royal Bank of Scotland, Hays Plc and Price Global.

Shine Weeks is an initiative comprising official side events, arranged by the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo—which was held from 12 to 14 September—and led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The BCCJ is honoured to be invited to contribute to an initiative that explores how increasing female participation in the workforce can boost economic growth.

As part of our rich array of social events this month, BCCJ members in the Kansai area will be networking at a reception in Osaka with our partners from the chambers of commerce of Luxembourg/Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.

Finally, we look forward to enjoying the craic with our friends at the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce, and their generous hospitality on 25 September.

In all of this, I applaud the active participation of our wider membership. Attendance at BCCJ events has grown by 27% over the past three years, and we plan for that trend to continue.