The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Executive Director | Losing Weight, Building Muscle

September 2013


Samuel Kidder

Samuel Kidder - ACCJ Journal

The Lehman shock hit us five years ago this month. Then, 2½ years ago, the tragic events in Tohoku gave us another blow. What impact have these events had on the ACCJ?

At a low point in early 2012, member headcount was almost 18 percent below the high point in 2008. Over the past year or so, we have seen a steady increase and now the loss is around 15 percent.

Looking at the ACCJ’s four membership categories one at a time gives a nuanced view. Our top category, Corporate Sustaining Membership, had 42 members before the Lehman shock. Now we have 53. We are excited by the growth in this membership grouping and the strong positive impact it has.

Our biggest loss was in the Company Membership category, down 35 percent since 2008. Although the decline has leveled off, we are working hard to find ways to rebuild the grouping.

Individual Membership figures rose steadily after the Lehman shock, and at one point in 2010 accounted for 10 percent more than in the same period of 2008. However, since the effects of the 2011 Tohoku triple disaster were absorbed, both the Individual and Non-Resident Membership categories have remained steady.

The decrease in revenue from dues has meant that we’ve had to work hard to find efficiencies that reduce costs to ensure the ACCJ remains financially robust.

We are holding just as many events as five years ago and have found that event quality, based on survey results, has improved.

In the area of communications, we are in a totally new world: revamped website, strong social network site presence, and eager exploration of new tools and media.

With Japan’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the chamber’s External Affairs Department is as busy as ever. When we look at past activity levels, we also see just how much we have accomplished and contributed over the years.

So we’re a little smaller; but we’re working hard to bulk up. And we’re a little leaner; but we’re just as strong and are working hard to get stronger.

We’re a little leaner; but we’re just as strong and are working hard to get stronger.”