The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


April 2014
Springing Forward
Megan Waters

It seems spring has finally arrived—in Tokyo at least—and the ACCJ has some great events to celebrate the arrival of this beautiful time of year.

Seasonal event highlights include the Young Professionals Group Subcommittee’s evening cherry blossom viewing (April 1), and the Kansai Chapter’s Spring Meishi Exchange (April 17), which has adopted the theme of Mardi Gras. Both events promise great networking opportunities and are appropriate ways to welcome the change of season.

Our cover story this issue is an interview with Honorary Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and President of the Japan Sports Association Fujio Cho, who has been named the 2013 ACCJ person of the year.

Cho joins the ranks of previous honorees of the prestigious award, which celebrates their distinctive and significant contribution to the US–Japan relationship. Those who have been honored include former US Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos and his wife, Susan H. Roos (2012); Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Inc. (2011); Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, scientist and public health expert (2010); and the late Tadashi Yamamoto, founder of the Japan Center for International Exchange (2009).

Cho was pivotal in Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We speak to him about what he believes the Games will bring to Japan, what foreign visitors will gain from attending the event here, and how it might serve to enhance the US–Japan relationship.

Looking back to an Olympics of another era, Tokyo Underworld author Robert Whiting transports us to pre-1964 Tokyo, when the city was gearing up to host the 1964 Olympiad.

Other than being the first Olympics in Asia, the Games were also the first to include the sports of judo and women’s volleyball.

Another first was the winning of the men’s 10,000m long-distance sprinting event by an American, Billy Mills. No American had won the event before, and the title has yet to be claimed again by a US athlete.

Whiting paints a picture of a city I doubt most of us would be able to recognize today. It will be interesting to see the changes the metropolis undergoes before the 2020 Games. Exciting times ahead, indeed.

The ACCJ Journal looks forward to supporting the ACCJ Tokyo 2020 Olympics Task Force in their work preparing for the big event.



Megan Waters