The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

PRESIDENT | UPDATE

May 2014
The ACCJ Is Thriving Thanks to You

It is outstanding what the Chamber is able to accomplish thanks to your unparalleled expertise, hard work, professionalism and shared belief in the importance of collaboration and cooperation. We are also fortunate to have the assistance of everyone in the ACCJ office. It is impossible to summarize all the initiatives that are underway so, instead, here is a sampling.

One way for the Japanese government to increase the number of working women in executive positions would be to allow Japanese women to hire foreign domestic workers to alleviate child- and elder-care responsibilities. To raise awareness and to promote changes to allow such hiring, the ACCJ issued a viewpoint on this topic in June 2013. With the Abe administration’s increased focus on promoting female executives as an element of its growth strategy policy, this proposal has been gaining real traction since the beginning of the year.

Kumi Sato and Bryan Norton presented on this issue at an LDP policy meeting on March 25 and Bryan Norton and Makiko Fukui addressed a government regulatory reform panel studying this issue on April 22. The Industrial Competitiveness Council has also recommended that Japan move forward positively on this issue.

In March, we issued a viewpoint entitled “Add Flexibility to the Labor Contract Law to Address Burgeoning Social Inequality While Spurring Economic Growth,” addressing the growing inequality of Japan’s two-tier labor market of regular and non-regular employees. Our recommendations would make the labor market more flexible, which is a major element of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s third arrow.

We are advocating for a formal regular employee contract that would provide protections, including mandated minimum severance pay, which would not only protect employees, but would also encourage employers to invest in training employees.

In late April, the ACCJ and the Keizai Doyukai issued a joint statement expressing that TPP is essential for stimulating business, promoting economic growth and creating jobs in the United States, Japan and the broader region, and that the United States and Japan have a duty to exercise even stronger leadership in guiding the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Nagoya Walkathon
I hope to see many of you at the 23rd Annual Nagoya Walkathon on May 18 at the Aichi Expo Memorial Park. The event is sponsored by the ACCJ and the Nagoya International School and is more than just a walkathon. There will also be a stage show, a raffle, other activities and food. The organizers hope to raise ¥8 million to help orphans, victims of child abuse, the physically or emotionally challenged, and people coping with illnesses such as HIV and cancer.

The ACCJ Board of Governors will hold its May meeting in Nagoya on May 17, so that many of your elected leaders can participate in this important annual event. Please visit www.nagoyawalkathon.com for more information.

Women in Business Summit and Entrance Fee Waiver Campaign
I also hope to see many of you at the Women in Business Summit on May 27. Please join me in thanking our very generous sponsors who donated ¥24.5 million in total and have made it possible for the ACCJ and the USJC to hold an all-day event with lunch, light refreshments, a cocktail reception and simultaneous interpretation at affordable rates for members and guests.

This year’s generous sponsors are Harmony Residence, Aflac, MetLife Alico, EY Japan, Toys “R” Us, Japan, Prudential Financial, J.P. Morgan, Dow Chemical Japan, RE/MAX, Nikkei, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Baxter Limited, Qualcomm Japan, Bloomberg, Coca-Cola, AIG, McDonald’s Company (Japan), K&L Gates, Eli Lilly, Mitsubishi Corporation, Oak Lawn Marketing, Pasona and Nu Skin.

As of last month, 21.3 percent of ACCJ members were women. Given the importance of fostering sustained economic growth in Japan through the empowerment and promotion of women in the workplace, and in support of Prime Minister Abe’s goal of having women in 30 percent of management positions by 2020, I hope at least 30 percent of ACCJ members will be women well before 2020.

In that spirit, we are pleased to announce a two-month Entrance Fee Waiver Campaign for any new female members who apply for membership from May 27 through July 31, 2014. This campaign also applies to any new male members who attend the Summit and apply for membership during the campaign period.

For Corporate Sustaining Members, this means you can enroll your female colleagues—and your male colleagues who participate in the Summit—as additional members for free. It also means those who qualify and apply to join as new Company Members, Individual Members or Non-Resident Members during the campaign period will receive a discount.

We hope many will take advantage of this special limited offer. More information will be provided at the Summit and on our website and SNS sites.

Jay

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Jay Ponazecki

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