The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The ability of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) to attract and retain the highest-quality, most-engaged, enthusiastic members is the lifeblood of the organization.

Membership Centricity is our number-one strategic focus and is critical to our short- and long-term success. I have three key messages that I believe will resonate with you, our members, and show why it is such a primary strategic focus for the chamber:

  • Every member is important to the ACCJ
  • Every member will have equal opportunity to fulfill all their aspirational interests through the ACCJ member experience
  • The collective strength and engagement of ACCJ members to serve the greater good is both remarkable and, indeed, what makes the ACCJ exceptional

During the past few months, I have come to realize the many benefits of my nearly seven years of experience with the ACCJ.

The strength of our engagement and connectivity with one another is the chamber’s secret sauce. I believe these engagements come together to create the most important foreign business community in Japan. The relationships forged with ACCJ members have been critical to every aspect of my experience here, including:

  • Cultural assimilation
  • Business success
  • Education
  • Community service
  • Friendship

I also remain awestruck and overwhelmed with tremendous pride and respect by the collective depth and breadth of intellect, work ethic, and volunteer spirit that is found among the ACCJ membership. We have almost 70 committees, each comprising diligent, inspiring leaders who strive to benefit the greater good. No one gets paid a penny, yet hours and hours of invaluable time and energy are brought to each issue, project, and activity.

This effort spans a broad range of concerns, from the Women in Business Summit to the Diet Doorknock and the range of diverse work undertaken by our many committees. This is truly special, and no other organization has such remarkable, wide-ranging expertise and experience.

With the aforementioned engagements in mind, I am launching the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) to bring together voices from the broad spectrum of membership categories to share their views on the membership experience.

Through a true representative democracy and a comprehensive cross-section of members, I hope to share the insights brought forth through MAC to help the chamber effectively deliver on our many strategic initiatives.

MAC will seek to apply the mindset of another of our key strategic focuses—Operational Excellence—to all aspects of the membership experience and strategic processes. They span from recruitment to onboarding, as well as the continued engagement and retention of all members.

Each and every individual in our 3,400-strong membership has a unique perspective and—though their own insight and DNA—adds to the inclusive nature of the chamber, thus strengthening the value proposition of the ACCJ.

In this regard, I have heard you. I want to improve the listening and learning benefits of the Leadership Forum. I will be at every Leadership Forum. I will be listening. The only bad idea is one that is not shared. I would like very much to hear from you.

Building on the chamber’s rich 70-year history, there has never been a better time to be a member of the ACCJ. Our brand has never been stronger, and there has never been a time in which there is as much important work to be done as there is today.

As we embark on the next 70 years, I have two requests of each of you:

  • Continue to be a recruiter. Bringing new members to the ACCJ is critical to our success.
  • Get engaged. Join a committee, volunteer, and find your ACCJ passion. You can make a positive difference.

Your guidance and suggestions are always welcome. You can reach me with your comments at

Peter M. Jennings is ACCJ President.
Membership Centricity is our number-one strategic focus and is critical to our short- and long-term success