The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


February 2014
Doing Things Differently
New ACCJ president rings in 2014 with ambassador, government and embassy officials, and chamber leaders

By Megan Waters
Photos by Antony Tran

Jay Ponazecki, elected ACCJ president for 2014, marked her first official appearance in her new role by addressing attendees at the ACCJ’s “2014 Shinnenkai.”

US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, America–Japan Society President Ichiro Fujisaki, many long-time friends of the chamber from the Japanese government and the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, as well as ACCJ officers and governors helped Ponazecki celebrate the new year with some 370 ACCJ members and guests at the Hotel Okura on January 14.

“I would like to thank 2013 ACCJ President Larry Bates for all he did last year. The ACCJ benefited greatly from his commitment to achieving growth together in the areas of Japanese economic growth, ACCJ organizational growth, and individual ACCJ member growth,” she said.

According to Ponazecki, when looking back over recent years, now is the best time to be doing business in Japan for foreign and domestic companies; and to be an ACCJ member.

“We are facing tremendous opportunities presented by Abenomics, Japan’s full participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and a renewed global focus on Japan,” she said.

To help realize Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s virtuous cycle, Ponazecki believes a key driver of ACCJ activity this year will be a sustained commitment to fostering US and Japanese economic growth.

To do this, the ACCJ will continue to provide concrete, solutions-based policy recommendations that focus on the following key themes.

Encouraging key market-wide reforms to foster greater innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness in Japan.

Key priorities will include increasing active participation by women in the workplace, including at management, executive, and board levels; sharing relevant global best practices to enhance labor mobility and diversity; and increasing the use and development of global talent in Japan to enhance productivity and promote foreign and domestic investment.

Promoting US–Japan leadership in the Asia–Pacific region by supporting the conclusion of the TPP negotiations.

Continuing to support the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, as well as assisting the Olympics planning committee once it has been formed, to ensure that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games promote Japan’s emergence as an economic hub for the region.

According to Ponazecki, the 2020 Games will provide a tremendous opportunity to showcase Japan as an attractive location in the region for investment, business, and travel, while demonstrating how businesses in Japan, both domestic and foreign (including many ACCJ members), have contributed to the nation’s economic revitalization.

Regarding the chamber itself, the new president believes 2014 offers a “tremendous opportunity for us to do things differently” and will be calling on ACCJ leaders to “unleash their imagination to ensure that we are doing our very best to maximize the value of being an ACCJ member.”

In addition, she reminded chamber officials that they have a duty to ensure that the ACCJ membership experience remains “relevant and compelling in an ever-changing and increasingly diverse landscape.”

“The ACCJ and its members remain fully committed to our friends here in Japan. We very much look forward to fostering more deep and meaningful connections this year,” she said.

Ponazecki announced that this year’s focus will be on the ACCJ’s name; two Cs between an A and a J standing for Collaboration and Cooperation between America and Japan.

“We celebrate our close relationships and look together with optimism at the opportunities that the coming year will afford for drawing us even closer, and for making Japan an even better place to conduct global business,” she concluded.


DividerAmbassador Caroline Kennedy (right)