The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Congratulations to everyone who made the 2015 American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Women in Business (WIB) Summit a resounding success with keynote speeches by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, and Kathy Matsui of Goldman Sachs.

The event included a panel discussion with CEOs who are male champions of change and eight break-out sessions that had over 700 attendees.

In addition to Mari Matthews and Margaret Cowle, who did a fantastic job co-chairing the WIB leadership team that organized the Summit, I wish to thank all the ACCJ member companies that generously sponsored the Summit, and all the individual ACCJ members who generously contributed their invaluable time and energy to this event.

The Summit showcased all the resources, talent, and expertise that we have within our membership. The ACCJ Office also provided excellent support.

Since last year’s WIB Summit, it has been encouraging to hear about private and public sector initiatives aimed at having women in 30 percent of all management positions in Japan by 2020, and to see more career women being portrayed in Japanese advertising, television programming, and other media.

For example, a bill has been submitted to the Japanese Diet mandating preferential access to government procurement for firms that actively promote women.

As of March 2015, Japanese companies must specify the percentage of women in executive posts in their annual securities reports. These are all steps in the right direction.

Many, however, are still asking fundamental questions: How do we get to 30 percent? How do we convert strategies into measureable results?

The Summit answered these questions by providing practical, solutions-based recommendations, and by sharing tested best practices on how to advance the role of Japanese women in the workplace through the key phases of their careers.

Hosting the Summit was very important, but what happens next is even more important. This action-oriented momentum has to be maintained beyond June 29 to ensure that real changes continue to be made.

It is a critical time for action; so let’s stay focused on being agents of change—as individuals and as companies.

In this spirit, the WIB Committee is working very hard on its first white paper, setting forth practical, solutions-based recommendations to help private and public sector entities get as close as they can to 30 percent by 2020.

By launching this white paper after the Summit, we hope to include additional advocacy themes that resulted from the Summit and to reinvigorate and reinforce this positive momentum.

Entrance Fee Waiver Campaign
Our membership goals include having women represent at least 30 percent of ACCJ members before 2020. Currently, 26.4 percent of our members are women.

To help achieve this goal, the ACCJ Board of Governors approved an entrance fee waiver campaign.

The ¥15,000 entrance fee for a new ACCJ member will be waived in the case of any new member application received between June 29 and August 31, 2015, for any woman, whether or not she attended the Summit, and for any man who attended the Summit.

Please take, and encourage others to take, advantage of this campaign.


To offer greater benefits to you, our valued ACCJ members, the ACCJ is offering LIVE STREAMING VIDEOS of some events at no cost.
Please go to the following URL and login with your member number and password to participate:
Feel free to email if you need your login information.



Jay Ponazecki