The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

In the January 2016 issue of The Journal, I shared my roadmap for strengthening the Chamber in regards to member service, advocacy, and networking opportunities. As we look back on the year, I’d like to take this opportunity to share the progress that we, as a chamber, have made in these areas.

Membership: A year ago, we set out to better serve all our membership, notably small and medium-sized businesses. Since then, we launched an all-new Venture Company Taskforce to create an advocacy agenda that supports small and medium-sized enterprises. We also established the CEO Forum Mentorship Sessions to open up new networks and learning opportunities for our smaller enterprises.

Networking: To facilitate more transparent communication between the ACCJ leadership and members, we started holding regular Town Hall meetings. These events have led to member-driven initiatives, such as improved event surveys and the streamlining of the chamber’s email communications.

Women in Business: With the June launch of the Women in Business white paper, Untapped Potential, followed by three nationwide summits unified under a single brand, 2016 has truly been a banner year for the chamber’s pursuit of gender equality. The board also established a new goal of having women in at least 30 percent of chamber leadership positions by 2020.

Advocacy: In April, the chamber conducted its largest-ever DC Doorknock and, for the first time, reported to ACCJ members on the results. The delegation participated in more than 70 meetings with members of Congress, congressional staff, senior administration officials, business organizations, and thought leaders.

In October, we held the largest-ever Diet Doorknock, with 70 ACCJ leaders and members meeting more than 60 Japanese officials.

Further, a delegation of CEOs from some of our largest member enterprises just completed an additional DC Doorknock to emphasize the importance of strong US–Japan ties to the success of American business.

External Communications: Our new website, with a completely redesigned architecture and appearance, will launch this month to better serve our members and support our core mission. We also enhanced our social media by bringing the majority of our photography and videography in-house to produce more engaging visual assets. Followers across all of our social media platforms have grown, including a 47 percent increase in YouTube subscribers since January 2016.

Finally, I am especially pleased to report that ACCJ membership is now at the highest level in our history, and so is the number of Corporate Sustaining Members.

None of this progress would have been possible without the hard work and collaborative spirit of my fellow board members, committee leaders, the ACCJ membership at large, and our dedicated ACCJ office staff. New challenges and opportunities await us in 2017, and I look forward to working with all of you to further expand and strengthen our chamber.

Christopher J. LaFleur is ACCJ President
In October, we held the largest-ever Diet Doorknock, with 70 ACCJ leaders and members meeting more than 60 Japanese officials.