The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Advocacy has always been one of the most critical functions of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). In years past, when Japan’s markets were not as open, the ACCJ played a critical role in identifying barriers and advocating for their removal.

The environment has improved significantly. Many ACCJ member companies today regard the Japan market as vital to their businesses, and see themselves as having moved “inside the castle.”

While there remains much to be done on market access, the dialog between the ACCJ and decision-makers in the Japanese government and in the nation’s industry has entered a new phase.

ACCJ members share with Japan’s leaders the goal of reviving Japanese growth and creating new business opportunities. This evolution is evident in many of our recent white papers, which have been increasingly focused on how global best practices can be effectively applied to encourage growth in Japan. This approach has produced encouraging results.

The government and the Tokyo Stock Exchange have taken up many of the recommendations featured in our Growth Strategy Task Force white paper. More than 50 percent of the recommendations in our 2011 financial services white paper have also been acted upon. Years of advocacy by our Healthcare Committee have helped realize in Japan an approval process for new drugs that is faster than that of the United States.

In the months ahead, we will be advocating for further progress in these areas and others, including for the recommendations in our recently issued women in business, women’s health, and 2016 financial services white papers.

We will also be working to ensure that our advocacy supports the full range of businesses that make up our diverse membership. We have already begun adding to our agenda recommendations from our new Venture Company Task Force on ways Japan could better support innovative small and medium-sized businesses.

In light of Japan’s rapidly changing business environment, our Structural Reform Task Force has been reviewing the several iterations of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Third Arrow” proposals. Although we have been impressed with achievements in agriculture, energy, and corporate governance, many proposals remain to be fully implemented. We will continue urging the government to press ahead to fulfill the promise of Abenomics to transform Japan into “the most business-friendly country in the world.”

In the spirit of working toward shared goals, we are conducting our 21st Diet Doorknock in October. We will encourage government officials and lawmakers to forge ahead with pro-growth reforms and to approve legislation required for Japan’s ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. We will also continue encouraging US lawmakers to ratify the TPP.

The ACCJ’s advocacy has been effective over the years because of the engagement of our many members and committees, who work to identify industry issues and to propose solutions. I urge all members to be actively engaged in the ACCJ committees that develop our advocacy agendas and, in so doing, to help shape the future of business in Japan.

Luncheon with Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso of the Bank of Japan

The ACCJ Financial Services Forum hosted a special luncheon event with Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo. In his remarks, Nakaso shares his perspectives on Japan’s economy and monetary policy.

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Christopher J. LaFleur is ACCJ President
ACCJ members share with Japan’s leaders the goal of reviving Japanese growth and creating new business opportunities.