The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


March 2014
Positive Momentum Continues

In February, Sam Kidder, other ACCJ leaders and I met with Parliamentary Senior Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs Norio Mitsuya; Yasuchiya Hasegawa, chairman of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and Kunio Ishihara, vice chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).

These meetings are important to maintain an open channel of communication, reconfirm our commitment to fostering economic growth in Japan, and share our core advocacy principles and advocacy plans for the year.

The president of the ACCJ and chairman of the European Business Council in Japan (EBC) have been invited to be observers at four panel discussions of the Japanese government’s Council on Fiscal and Economic Policy on the Japanese taxation system, restrictions on inbound FDI, M&A, corporate governance, HR and labor.

Further, both organizations have been invited to present their opinions concerning restrictions on inbound FDI. This is a tremendous opportunity for the chamber.

Early each year, the president reviews the activities, over the previous year, of the 60-plus ACCJ committees, and appoints the 2014 committee leaders. Nearly all this year’s committee leaders have now been appointed. However, chairs and vice chairs may be appointed throughout the year.

Some committees have been restructured. For example, the Energy and Environment Committee has been divided into two. The Energy Committee will focus on the development of energy-related industries in Japan. It will provide a platform for members to share information on energy issues, follow critical issues in energy policy, and provide input for the Japanese and US governments on the impact of various energy regulations.

The Environment Committee will work to address environmental issues in all business sectors; encourage member companies to pursue opportunities to benefit and improve the environment; provide a forum to share best practices in corporate sustainability, climate change programs and green procurement; and learn about key updates to laws including those pertaining to chemical registration, recycling and soil contamination.

David Litt and Masahiko Sakurai will serve as co-chairs of the Energy Committee.

If you would like to get involved with either committee, please inform David, Sakurai-san, Rebecca Green or Laura Younger.

A quest to do even better
Every day I am impressed by the expertise and passion that so many ACCJ volunteer leaders and members bring to the chamber.

I also am very aware that there is much more that the elected and appointed leaders can do to further enhance your membership experience.

We need to listen to you more, and better communicate our successes and the actions we have taken in response to your feedback.

In the constant battle to do even better, many of the athletes competing in the Sochi Winter Olympics have been a wonderful source of inspiration, in particular, Yuzuru Hanyu and Noriaki Kasai.

Two years ago, Hanyu wrote that, more than anything else, he wanted to make every day count. This is what ACCJ leaders need to do; ensure that every ACCJ event is relevant and compelling, and that your membership experience counts.

After winning a silver medal in his seventh Olympics, Kasai said that he would keep training to compete in the next Olympics, because he believes he can do even better and wants to win a gold medal. We, too, have to believe that we can do even better.

Recent ACCJ event
Dr. Donald Brown, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, recently spoke at an ACCJ event about his journey as a co-founder of two start-ups and a global enterprise.

Dr. Brown gave examples of how one or two people can often solve problems better than a large corporate R&D department. When asked how he maintained a creative dynamic as Interactive Intelligence grew, he said it is important to make your employees feel that their respective jobs matter. When people say something cannot be done because it’s too complex, Dr. Brown suggested making sure they convince you it really cannot be done.

Many thanks to the Information, Communications and Technology Committee for organizing this event.