The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

At the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), strengthening the trade and economic partnership between the United States and Japan is a key focus of our advocacy. In these turbulent economic and political times, the ACCJ’s ability to engage and be flexible is more impera­tive than ever.

The ACCJ aims to stay ahead of the curve and execute on relevant and strong advocacy. We are fortunate to have talented members with deep experience in this area at the chamber who contribute through ACCJ committees as well as the DC and Diet Doorknocks.

Yet it is incumbent on each of us in the ACCJ community to be knowledgeable on the key initiatives and challenges we are facing. That is why we are making a more concerted effort to ensure you know the topics and are equipped to engage.

The ACCJ is strengthening how we involve and inform members for whom advocacy is a top priority, along with building closer ties with key partners. Three new offerings are:

  • External Affairs Briefing Series
  • External Affairs (EA) Roadshow
  • Advocacy Training

The newly launched External Affairs Briefing Series will increase the knowledge base of the chamber by making buzzword topics more understandable for advocacy newcomers. This series kicked off in September with a session on personal information protection led by Megumi Tsukamoto, co-chair of the Digital Economy Committee, and a session on healthcare reform led by John Carlson, chair of the Healthcare Committee.

The External Affairs (EA) Roadshow, which began in June, provides an overview of the ACCJ resources available to commit­tees pursuing advocacy related activities.

In addition, to make advocacy efforts more accessible to all committees, the Committee Excellence Advisory Council is offering training sessions on topics such as how to write policy documents that further ACCJ positions.

The chamber also engages in relationship-building with key stake­holders. Recent engage­ment includes meetings with the leader­ship at the Embassy of the United States, Tokyo, including Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Joseph M. Young and newly arrived Embassy officers. The partner­ship between the ACCJ and the Embassy remains a cornerstone of our advocacy engagement. Our members provide on-the-ground know-how and experience, while our Embassy counter­parts remain valued sources of government policy expertise and commercial support.

We are also engaged through events open to non-ACCJ members. On September 10, I spoke at the Midwest US–Japan 51st Anniversary Conference in Tokyo. Though my invitation was as President of Dow Japan, I was delighted to promote the chamber and our member companies that are investing in every key industry and economic segment in Japan. I also underscored the ACCJ’s position that the United States and Japan should progress toward a trade agreement that addresses a range of ongoing issues and supports future-focused industries. This will strengthen the US–Japan alliance, generate innovation, spur capital investment, and create high-paying, highly skilled jobs in both countries.

The ACCJ will hold its annual Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) on October 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Tokyo American Club. This is one of the best opportunities to learn about the chamber’s strategic focus and future goals.

At the OGM, you’ll hear more about the ACCJ’s advocacy efforts, as well as progress being made in our other two strategic focus areas: Member Centricity and Operational Effectiveness. I look forward to sharing the State of the Chamber and plans for the remainder of the year. At this meeting, I will also share the candidates for the 2019 Board of Governors election and proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Your voice at this meeting is important. We invite members to participate by asking questions of the candidates, sharing comments, and reviewing the Constitutional amendments that will guide the chamber. I strongly encourage you to join us and be part of the ACCJ’s governance.

I also encourage you not to miss your chance to vote in the election in November, which ensures you have a say in the governance of the Chamber. If you have any questions about the upcoming OGM, please contact 

Peter M. Jennings is ACCJ President.
In these turbulent economic and political times, the ACCJ’s ability to engage and be flexible is more imperative than ever.