The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


December 2013
The ACCJ has made great advances this year

Larry Bates @ACCJPresident

On Wednesday, October 30, I had the honor and pleasure of chairing the ACCJ’s 2013 Ordinary General Meeting.

At the meeting, voting members approved the slate of candidates for the incoming ACCJ Board of Governors for 2014.

I very much enjoyed presiding over this official gathering, meeting with so many engaged members, and hearing the impressive presidential candidate speeches and the lively Q&A session that followed.

In my State of the Chamber remarks, I focused on what steps the ACCJ has taken in 2013 to promote our three pillars of networking, information, and advocacy in the spirit of our 2013 slogan, “Achieving Growth Together.” (ACCJ members can access a video of the State of the Chamber address on the ACCJ’s member website.)

In this presentation, I noted that the number of events and total attendees are at, or fast approaching, pre-Lehman shock levels. Further, our social networking presence spiked this year, with big increases in Facebook likes, LinkedIn group members, and Twitter followers.

Event highlights this year have been our three walkathons, which have raised millions of yen for charity, the inspiring Women in Business Summit (attended by over 400 people), and the first ever Person of the Year award ceremony to feature two recipients: former US Ambassador to Japan John Roos and his wife Susan.

And momentum has continued to build through an exciting fall season with an impressive lineup of high-profile speakers including United States Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue; Izumi Kobayashi, former president of Merrill Lynch Japan; Nobel Laureate Dr. Shinya Yamanaka; Tomoko Namba, founder of DeNA Co., Ltd.; Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki; and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

On the advocacy front, the ACCJ continues to lead the way in promoting policies that improve the business environment for our members and the broader Japanese economy.

Advocacy documents and meetings continued apace in 2013. Our annual doorknocks in Washington DC and here in Japan continued their tradition of success, as ACCJ leaders and members liaised directly with senior government officials and policymakers on both sides of the Pacific.

Further, we backed Japan’s entry into TPP negotiations, focused relentlessly on structural reform—the third arrow of Abenomics—and supported Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Membership growth was one of the key pillars of the ACCJ’s overall engagement platform under the theme of “Achieving Growth Together.” I am happy to say that we have made great progress this year, and are seeing significant growth in certain segments of our membership.

The ACCJ now has 58 Corporate Sustaining Members (CSMs)—the most in the chamber’s history. We are well on our way to meeting the goal of 60 CSMs by the end of the year. Total membership has increased to 2,808 this year from the post-Lehman trough of just under 2,600, while membership among women is 20.6 percent, up from only 16.3 percent in 2011.

We will continue our membership growth efforts using our financial strength to invest in the future to support the growth strategy. I am looking forward to welcoming a new director of development, who will focus on our membership strategy.

As I sign off on my second-to-last ACCJ Journal column as president of the ACCJ, I feel very proud of our achievements this year, and appreciate your ongoing dedication and commitment to supporting the chamber.

I would like to thank the elected leadership, the committee leadership, the hard-working office staff, and the ACCJ’s increasingly engaged and enthusiastic membership base for helping make all of our accomplishments this year a reality.

Next year promises to be exciting as we welcome new leaders on the board and more new members, and continue to achieve growth together.

I wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season.