As another year draws to a close at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), we can look back with satisfaction on how we’ve strengthened our community, taken on new challenges and delivered bigger and better events.
The very VIP visit
In February, we welcomed to Japan Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, who launched the UK government’s Innovation is GREAT campaign. One of the treasures in my 2015 memory box are the numerous letters we received following the duke’s visit to Miyagi Prefecture on 1 March.
Local high school student Hitomi Tanimura wrote: “I told [Prince William] that we’d like to have more exchange programmes between Japanese and British young people. I appreciated that he listened to me, holding my hand and looking in my eyes. I believe that was the day when many young disaster survivors felt that a lot of [their] dreams will come true. Thank you so much. I love the United Kingdom!”
Supported by UK Trade & Investment, we made good progress on our journey to share with Japan lessons learned from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Via 10 BCCJ events, we showcased the expertise of speakers who have successfully delivered sporting extravaganzas, supporting knowledge transfer on a number of topics.
These include leadership (Lord Deighton KBE in February), workforce planning (Jean Tomlin OBE in April), legacy planning (Sir Edward Lister in July), and volunteering (Rowan Conway in September).
And who could forget our session, in September, with Mayor of London Boris Johnson—fresh from reportedly “flattening” a 10-year-old schoolboy in an informal game of street rugby in Tokyo—during which he assured attendees that “2020 Olympicsceptics will be proved wrong”.
In total, we have delivered 38 events in 2015, welcoming more than 2,000 guests to sessions ranging from intimate, strategic briefings to the big splash, black-tie glamour of the British Business Awards.
We’ve also enjoyed greater engagement of Japanese members, particularly at our seminars on diversity and inclusion. Our event summaries and learning—much of which has been led and supported by member firms—are detailed on the BCCJ website.
I am often asked how we do it all. The answer? You! We are fortunate to have support from talented people of all ages who devote time to our mission: strengthening UK–Japan business ties.
I end the year with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has participated in BCCJ events and activities, and to everyone who has played a part in our success.
Wishing you and yours a fabulous festive season ahead.