The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Mid-January is around the time when people return to Japan after holidays abroad, gradually getting back into their corporate routines. What perfect timing, then, to be encouraged about the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) contribution to US–Japan relations from US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy?

ACCJ members and guests attending the 2016 Shinnenkai, held on January 19 at the Imperial Hotel, also heard from ACCJ President Emeritus (now Chairman) Jay Ponazecki and new President Christopher LaFleur, who outlined his clear vision for this year. Touching on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, continued advocacy, and the 2016 focus on greater support for the chamber’s SME members, President LaFleur’s speech instilled a sense of growing community among all ACCJ members and related organizations.

The ballroom was packed with people at the center of Japan’s thriving business community, and we were honored to have a significant number of guests and new members with whom to celebrate the new year.

As the thud of the mallet came down to crack the huge barrel of sake provided by the Daishichi brewery of Fukushima Prefecture, guests enjoyed a rousing kanpai toast by Japan–U.S. Business Council Chairman Kunio Ishihara while sampling the sake in traditional square wooden cups.

Delicious food and active networking kept many in eager conversation until lights were dimmed to signal the end of the festivities. Things are looking great for 2016, and we all hope the ACCJ can be part of Japan’s continued and very successful internationalization.

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Ruth Marie Jarman is co-chair of the ACCJ Special Events Committee and CEO of Jarman International K.K.