The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


February 2014

Momentum and Acceleration
The new year brings progress and hope
Samuel Kidder

There’s already a lot going on at the ACCJ in 2014 and no doubt the pace will increase. Be on the lookout for our revised and updated Core Advocacy Principles.

We tend to be strict constructionists with these foundational beliefs that drive our advocacy. But perhaps largely because our advocacy has helped move many issues forward, we need to reflect those changes.

An area where we will be putting emphasis, and where we will need your input, is doing a better job of providing chances for our Japanese members to participate in chamber leadership.

Fully half of our members by head count are Japanese. But if we look around the table during the Leadership Forum—the monthly meeting that brings all our committee leaders together—we do not see enough of our Japanese members.

However, we do have activities where Japanese member leadership stands out.

And we have found program formats that attract a strong Japanese contingent. But we need to do better and, to do so, we need your help.

We’ll be watching carefully to see how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) plays out.

If we compare where we are now with where we were this time last year, it is remarkable to see the progress that has been made.

But in both Japan and the United States and, in fact, in most TPP negotiating capitals, some of the most difficult politics will not be across the country-to-country negotiating tables. Rather they will be in the legislatures and local town halls, where the fight for local approval will be carried out.

This could mean that as we approach our spring Washington, DC Doorknock, the ACCJ will have a critical role to play. We like to think we have been influential on policy issues. This year we may be more than influential; we just might be essential.

We’ll also be watching carefully to see how Abenomics is working. There was a lot of positive momentum in the economy and this was reflected in the optimism of many of our members as we moved into 2014.

Last year we often talked of growth. Perhaps this year we will be able to talk about momentum and even acceleration.

For us in the ACCJ office, 2014 will see lots of changes. At the end of January we said goodbye to Kyoko Fujii, whose almost 40 years of work with the chamber has earned her many fans and friends.

Many of us have come to depend on her knowledge and mentoring and, while we are sorry to see her go, she has certainly earned a rest.

The fact that the ACCJ can attract and keep people of the caliber of Fujii-san is something in which we, both members and staff, can take pride.

Thank you Fujii-san and please come back to visit often.


DividerSamuel Kidder