Member? Please login
A message from BCCJ Senior Adviser, Graham Davis (April 10, 2020) …
Written by BCCJ
April 10, 2019
In normal times I would probably be reflecting on recent Hanami experiences and thinking of plans for Golden Week and enjoying the fresh green leaves and flowers of spring. But Covid has put paid to all of that and has become the most disruptive experience for decades.
There are business and personal sides to this crisis. I know that for many businesses, survival is the number one priority, particularly as voluntary or compulsory lockdowns are enforced. We are also concerned about the health of family, friends and colleagues around the world. It came as a real shock to learn that even those of us with Permanent Residency would, in the words of the Japan Ministry of Justice be “subject to refusal of landing without special exceptional circumstances” – in other words, we won’t be let back in. Of course, Japan is far from unique in setting up significant border restrictions, but this one feels personal.
I had never thought about this before, because I have always assumed that the only restrictions on travel to and from Japan are distance and the cost of flights. I am sure that this is a temporary restriction, presumably for the duration of the Covid crisis, but it is an example of how deep and traumatic the effects of Covid are. And what is true for us as individual travellers applies equally to businesses used to moving goods and people around with ease.
At one level, we all just have to get on and deal with what Covid is throwing at us in both our business and personal lives. That is the day to day stuff – remote working, resilience, keeping businesses afloat and reacting to spikes and troughs in demand; following government policy and keeping an eye out for those around us. We’ve used our Covid-19 Resource Page and recent webinars to think about the immediate issues, and we also want to look at the medium term implications and consequences as well. It is here that life gets more difficult; if we cannot predict with any certainty when this crisis might abate, or what form an escape from lockdown will take, it is asking a lot to make predictions about the future. But we think there are some themes which may emerge as a result and it is important to start thinking about them now.
You will see events coming up on the market and economic implications of Covid – with all of the business disruption and government reaction, there is much to consider, for Japan and the world. We also are thinking about Responsible Business in the light of Covid – has the crisis changed the conversation and priorities here, or does Covid reinforce the need for sustainable and responsible business. I bet every part of industry and commerce is having conversations about what Covid means for them – with very few predicting a return to how things were before. Whether it is healthcare provision, corporate governance, community and charity, working practice, the travel industry, the future of aviation – there isn’t an area untouched by this. So plenty for us to think about and to promote conversation about.
We always appreciate your ideas and comments about what we are doing, and in particular suggestions for our (virtual) event programme. Do please get in touch.