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BCCJ 2023 | YEAR IN REVIEW
Written by BCCJ
December 22, 2023
Community and Business
With the festive season upon us, we invite you to take a moment to sit back and enjoy a selection of BCCJ highlights from the past calendar year, including a recap of some of the 50+ diverse B2B events, the introduction of Chamber working groups, a variety of new event series and an unforgettable British Business Awards gala showcasing the ever-thriving commercial relationship between the UK and Japan.
BCCJ PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
It’s been an incredible year for the Chamber, and it’s hard to believe so much has been crammed into 365 days! With Japan being the host nation for G7 this year we have seen a steady flow of visitors. As the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Japan, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP told us – Japan is on many people’s minds back in the UK. It is no surprise that UK-Japan relations have reached an all-time high, and the signing of the Hiroshima Accord earlier in the year is perhaps the pinnacle of this year’s events.
It’s been great to continue growing our membership and network and working more closely with our partners, especially the Embassy and the British Council. It has also been good to see some new initiatives, such as the SME & Startup Night and the Anglo-Nippon Culture Club. Seeing the Chamber find a more permanent home at Work Styling in Roppongi was especially good. Having a base to meet potential and existing members has been great. Please do drop by next year if you have not done so.
As we enter 2024, it is the year of the dragon, symbolising power, wisdom, and good fortune. Let us hope some of that is imparted to our businesses to ensure we have a successful year. I hope everyone has time to catch up with family and friends over the end-of-year break, and I look forward to seeing many of you in January at the Shinenkai or other events we have already planned.
A few highlights from 2023...
Our first event of the series, welcoming 85 guests at the Hive Jinnan in Tokyo, was led by BCCJ Executive Committee members Mark McFarlane (Representative Director, TACCHI K.K.) and Sven Palys (Founder & Co-CEO, Yuzu Kyodai), who shared their ambitions to evolve this platform as an accessible space for startups and SMEs to connect.
Feb 10 | 200 years of rugby
In celebration of rugby’s 200-year milestone in 2023, the BCCJ joined with chambers of commerce representing Canada, France, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to host a special event attended by a wide range of professionals from the world of rugby, as well as rugby enthusiasts and supporters.
HSBC experts Dr Frederic Neumann, managing director and chief Asia economist, and Dr Murat Ulgen, global head of emerging markets research, told the brighter news to members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan at its event: “Global Economic Forecast 2023.”
On March 16, the BCCJ welcomed the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Japan, Greg Clark to the ANA InterContinental Tokyo to share his perspectives on the evolving UK-Japan relationship, as well as his current activities and priorities during his first visit to Japan in this role.
March 31 | The UK Concludes Trade Talks with Member Countries of the CPTPP: What does this Mean for Trade in the Member Countries | UK Trade Envoy to Japan, Greg Clark Talks with BCCJ Members
The BCCJ joined other British chambers of commerce in region to commemorate the UK concluding trade talks with member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This was the culmination of over two years of process and negotiations with CPTPP members since the initial application in February 2021.
This year, the BCCJ extended its recognition throughout the month of March, highlighting some of the outstanding and inspirational accomplishments, initiatives and individuals within the Chamber membership.
On Thursday, April 22, members of the BCCJ met with the Rt Hon Mel Stride MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during his visit to Japan for the G7 Summit.
The results of the BCCJ’s contested 2023-2024 BCCJ Executive Committee (Excom) Election were announced and approved at the BCCJ’s 2023 Annual General Meeting.
Government Relations is the BCCJ’s fourth and most recent pillar, introduced to develop and maintain relationships and collaboration efforts with outside entities. The group assists with raising the overall awareness of the BCCJ through media, liaisons and by maintaining a strong voice and brand.
May 12 | Digital leap to gender equality
With greater utilisation of technology offering opportunities to advance gender equality, the public and private sectors are keen to maximise the potential of digital for women’s empowerment in Japan. The BCCJ was pleased to invite keynote speaker Masako Mori, special advisor to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on women’s empowerment, to share her insights.
The historic 2020 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Japan and the UK paved the way for greater market opening, including in legal services. But with bureaucratic requirements for foreign lawyers to register in Japan still in place, British negotiators and legal organisations continue to push Tokyo to further open up the market.
British education is thriving in Japan, with a number of prestigious institutions establishing new campuses in the biggest expansion in UK education in the country since 2018. Japan’s famed safety, stability and proximity to growing Asian markets have contributed to the boom, while parents are increasingly seeking a broader, more international education for their children.
May 26 | Brits helping out in Japan
PechaKucha Tokyo and the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) marked the coronation of King Charles III with a special event on May 8, which featured a welcome by British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom CMG and highlighted the many Britons volunteering and making a true impact in Japan.
In light of growing global cybersecurity threats, the BCCJ held the event “Cybersecurity for all, cybersecurity by all,” which offered views from the Japanese government and industry on how cybersecurity is being tackled in Japan.
July 6 | BCCJ Launches First Working Group Meeting with Responsible Business Taskforce
The BCCJ Working Groups (WG) are member-driven forums designed to provide a space for members and guests of the chamber with an interest in a particular practice or industry to engage like-minded individuals, forge valuable connections and allow members to collaborate on impactful projects that drive business interests forward.
The C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust is among the organisations in Japan striving to restore abandoned and neglected satoyama in a bid to bring back life to forests. At a BCCJ breakfast event sponsored by Camping with Soul Japan, Ryo Ijichi, managing director of the trust, gave members an introduction to their work and share opportunities for BCCJ members to support their intitiatives.
Steve Martin, co-founder and executive creative director, opened this toolbox session by introducing how Eat Creative works with clients “to become more relevant in the markets they are targeting.”
The best of UK-Japan relations, as well as British excellence, innovation, diversity, entrepreneurship and responsible business contributions in Japan were recognised at the British Business Awards 2023 (BBA2023), welcoming over 330 guests to the Hilton Tokyo.
This year’s British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) Golf Day, the “2023 BCCJ Cup” was held at the Gold Tochigi President’s Country Club on Friday, December 1, 2023.
What was your BCCJ highlight this year? Did we capture it in the highlights reel above?
Let us know by email ([email protected]) or on social media. We always love to hear from you and value your honest feedback.
Once again, on behalf of the BCCJ’s Executive Committee (Excom) and the BCCJ executive team, thank you for your continued support throughout 2023, and for contributing to the chamber’s ever-evolving diverse programme of activities.
It has been a pleasure to serve you, and we wish you a safe and relaxing festive break ahead.