The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



Samuel Kidder

The ACCJ has been blessed with many great leaders and supporters over the years. Recently we heard about the passing of two of our honorary members.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker passed away on June 26 in his hometown of Huntsville, Tennessee. The national media referred to him as “a political giant of his generation,” recounting his many contributions, including his prominent participation in the Watergate hearings, his balanced and collegial stewardship of the Senate as majority leader from 1981 to 1985, and his key role as chief of staff in President Ronald Reagan’s second term.

For many of us, our memories recall the countless hours Baker spent with our members and leaders, and his steadfast support of American business interests in Japan.

In speaking with numerous people in both the Japanese and US business communities, I have always been struck by the universal admiration felt for his contributions. We will miss him, but we will always remember what a privilege it was to have his support for the ACCJ.

United States and the world
On June 13, Barney Williamson, president of the ACCJ from 1976 to 1977, passed away at his home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the age of 92. In January 1977, the ACCJ Journal published a special bicentennial edition.

In his dedication at the beginning of that historic Journal issue, then-President Williamson asks members to draw inspiration from the contributions of citizens who have dedicated themselves to establishing America’s eminent position in the community of nations.

I am sure Williamson would agree that today’s ACCJ members can appreciate the many people who came before them that have made the ACCJ the respected and influential organization it is today.

Interestingly (at least to me), another introductory message in the same issue from the former president of the America–Japan Society (AJS) further emphasizes this theme of continuity. The AJS president at the time, if you are too young to remember, was Nobusuke Kishi, grandfather of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

ACCJ family
Our Programs Manager Humza Ahmad and his wife, Shihoko, reminded us that transitions can also be joyful. This July they were joined by Amina Keiko Ahmad, who in the years ahead will keep them busy as Humza organizes future Women in Business summits.

In good time we expect Amina to be signed up for Women in Business 2040, and perhaps even lead a breakout session on “Why Don’t We Have Any ACCJ Men on the Board?”

Important transitions are also taking place in the careers of past ACCJ leaders. Recently, President Barack Obama appointed Robert McDonald to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In the media, McDonald is touted as a West Point graduate and paratrooper, and as a businessman who headed up Proctor & Gamble. But I prefer to think of him as a former member of the ACCJ Board of Governors, representing our Kansai chapter.

If you don’t believe me, look in your ACCJ Directory for the year 2000. •



Samuel Kidder