The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Among this year’s many American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) events and initiatives, I would like to highlight the recently established Japan Structural Reform Task Force (JSRTF), led by ACCJ Chairman Christopher LaFleur and ACCJ Governor Arthur Mitchell.

While everyone is familiar with the term Abenomics, the exact nature and tangible points of progress of its growth strategy, and particularly its structural reform component, the so-called third arrow, are often not as well understood by even the most strident followers of business and economic news.

The JSRTF is working with ACCJ members and external parties to demystify the third arrow and to share its findings in a report.

One such external party, an inaugural class of ACCJ Fellows, graduate students at the Inter-University Center, was selected earlier this year to supplement the task force’s efforts, researching often very recondite areas of the structural reforms.

ACCJ committee leaders are also involved, helping to guide the Fellows, nurture this next generation of leaders in the US–Japan relationship, and fashion a comprehensive report on some of the progress of the structural reforms.

I hope all committee leaders with a stake in the success of Abenomics will play an active role in helping compile this report.

Furthering its mission to elucidate, for ACCJ members, the structural reforms introduced by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the JSRTF is scheduling speaker events with leading business experts, including—just last month—Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Chief Economist Dr. Robert Alan Feldman and Goldman Sachs Managing Director and Womenomics pioneer Kathy Matsui.

Please look for more programs and content from this task force.

Supporting Local Businesses
In addition to supporting ACCJ members whenever you can, please support local businesses. We present speakers and guests with ACCJ senbei (rice crackers) made in Tohoku by TWHY TWHY, which was founded by Takako Endo in 2008.

The sake barrel used at this year’s Tokyo shinnenkai (New Year welcoming party) came from the award winning Daishichi Sake Brewery in Fukushima Prefecture.

Each speaker at the 2015 ACCJ Women in Business Summit received a bottle of sake from Masuichi-Ichimura Sake Brewery in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture. The brewery’s managing director is Sarah Cummings, the first American female sake brewer in Japan.

Takashi Endo, a member of the House of Representatives from the Senshu district in Osaka, recently introduced us to the high quality blankets and towels made by local craftspersons in his district, and we are considering ordering ACCJ-branded towels using cotton imported from the United States.

Internships for Japanese College Students
I recently visited Gunma Prefectural Women’s University, which is keen to establish an internship program so the students can better understand what it means to work for a company.

If you have business operations in Saitama, Gunma or Niigata Prefectures and would like to host an intern from this university, please let me know.

We need to keep finding ways to support and encourage the next generation of women and men who will soon be entering the Japanese workforce. I welcome your recommendations on how we, as a business community, might do even more.

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