The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

am excited to enthusiastically usher in fall with a number of events that will focus attention on Japan. This includes Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, which will kick off on September 20 in Tokyo and be played in 12 cities around the country, as well as the first official PGA Tour event to be held in Japan, set for October 24–27 at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture.

As we embark on this season of firsts, I’d like to share with you the chamber’s progress in an area that members view as first priority: enhanced communications to increase member value and engagement.

ENHANCED INFORMATION SHARING
As president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), the push to communicate what the chamber does—and how it does it—resonates with me, because the exchange of information is essential to building relationships with members and the broader ACCJ community. Being more visible and open is critical for the chamber’s growth and ensures that the ACCJ sustains its position as the most influential foreign business organization in Japan.

The ACCJ is committed to effecting positive change in policies and practices at the business and government levels. And to be an effective advocate, we must make efforts to lead the way in introducing programs and systems that best serve the ACCJ community and advance our collective goals.

Over the past year, the chamber has responded by impro­ving the flow of communications in a more modern way. Three of the initiatives are:

  • Better use of channels: more direct and digitized delivery of key information to members and all stakeholders
  • Increased information access: making more processes and policies easily accessible and explicitly communicated to members
  • Greater information exchange: new platforms for members to interact with and learn about ACCJ leadership

To maintain the highest standards of reporting prac­tices, the ACCJ is better utilizing its channels to ensure important updates to members are being shared more often through email, our website, and the Member Data Center. We have increased event access via web conferencing for Kansai and Chubu members, and have also expanded our digital media presence. In addition, the recent increase in media exposure has raised awareness of ACCJ events and advocacy initiatives to a wider base of stakeholders.

GREATER TRANSPARENCY
Members asked for greater transparency related to ACCJ poli­cies, procedures, and governance. To this end, the chamber has undertaken a policy review and begun to make the results available for members to access. The Board of Governors is driving a series of member updates on a regular basis that includes information on the chamber’s financial position, governance policies, and updates on implementation of the Membership Value Project.

The Board now also regularly reports on its meeting pro­ceedings at the Leadership Forum to committee leaders, who, in turn, share the information with committee members at their meetings to enhance the two-way conversation.

In addition, the recently launched Advocacy Roadshow, led by the External Affairs team, gives committees a chance to gain greater access to available resources and information on how the ACCJ’s advocacy efforts support a more positive global business environment in Japan.

MEMBER-DRIVEN COLLABORATION
Members will have more opportunities to share their voices and deepen engagement. The upcoming launch of our first-ever digital collaboration platform will provide a new way to share ideas, information, and resources. Members can leverage this tool to diversify how they engage with each other and find new opportunities to develop their business. Watch for more details in the coming weeks!

Next month is also one of the most important of the year for the ACCJ. On October 30, we will hold our annual Ordinary General Meeting. This members-only meeting is an important opportunity to hear about the state of the ACCJ, interact with fellow members, and actively participate in the future of the chamber.

Members are the chamber’s most important resource, helping spark new programs and initiatives in pursuit of the ACCJ’s mission. As president, I see firsthand how so many of you contribute your experience and professional knowledge to help the chamber continuously improve. As professionals at the forefront of innovative business, this is invaluable. Please continue to share your feedback and ideas as we work to strengthen the ACCJ at this important juncture. I welcome your comments and questions at: pmjennings@accj.or.jp

Peter M. Jennings is ACCJ President.
To be an effective advocate, we must make efforts to lead the way in introducing programs and systems that best serve the ACCJ community and advance our collective goals.