The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


March 2014
Advancing Our Mission
Samuel Kidder

The ACCJ’s Core Advocacy Principles express fundamental values that we believe are vital to advancing our mission to “further develop commerce between the United States of America and Japan, promote the interests of US companies and members, and improve the international business environment in Japan.”

When first adopted, the principles included a commitment to free market ideals, a level playing field, transparent and fair processes, and adoption of global best practices.

However, during our 60th anniversary year, the board added corporate social responsibility as a fifth principle and noted the chamber’s support of greater US–Japan economic integration.

At our first board meeting this year, ACCJ leaders added the sixth basic principle of solutions-based recommendations, and elevated our call for economic integration to a seventh principle: a commitment to support and foster US–Japan economic integration and regional leadership.

Through our drafting and approval process for all advocacy positions, we strive to adhere to these principles. Further, the board doesn’t make changes or additions to the Core Advocacy Principles without thorough discussion.

In adding solutions-based recommendations to our list, the board formalized a principle that had often been part of our discussions when determining or advocating a position.

The ACCJ believes we are most effective when we offer constructive solutions, and that good advocacy should strive for a win–win result. Elevating US–Japan economic integration and regional leadership to a stated principle builds on the success of our long-term efforts in this area.

Our previous statements on this topic date back to the time when the ACCJ was encouraging negotiation of a comprehensive, high-standard Economic Integration Agreement (EIA). Now we are talking about the TPP rather than the EIA. However, the basic idea is the same: the United States and Japan should take the lead in establishing a trade regime that benefits both countries as well as the economies of the region.

This principle reiterates the need for the United States and Japan to remain engaged in important bilateral efforts. We can all be encouraged and take satisfaction from an updated advocacy principle that needed to be revised to account for significant forward progress in an area where we had been focusing chamber advocacy.

The foundation of chamber advocacy is strong. To build on this we rely on input from our committees and members. We also welcome your comments on where you believe advocacy will be headed in the future.

I believe, in years ahead, our efforts to promote more abstract principles will not disappear, but will diminish. As the TPP and other efforts begin to take hold, we will turn more and more to advocating specific issues that impact individual sectors and member companies.

A second trend, the globalization of advocacy, was a subject I touched on in my remarks at our Ordinary General Meeting last fall and in the subsequent ACCJ Journal piece (December 2013). I am curious to hear your thoughts on these two points.



Samuel Kidder