The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



Making a Difference

I hope you were able to enjoy the holidays and that you began 2015 filled with optimism.

After hiking in Tasmania’s Walls of Jerusalem National Park and in Australia’s largest cool temperate rainforest, the Tarkine, I am back in the saddle energized and with a reaffirmed commitment to each of you to tirelessly find ways to further enhance the value of your ACCJ membership.

I look forward to speaking with many of you at the shinnenkai in Tokyo on January 16, in Kansai on January 22 and in Chubu on January 23, and to receiving and acting on your terrific ideas for the Chamber throughout the year.

Congratulations Laura Younger
I am very pleased to introduce the new ACCJ Executive Director, Laura Younger.

We are very excited to have Laura at the helm leading the Chamber into a new era of further growth and even greater service to members—drawing on her intimate knowledge of the organization, her successful management of the ACCJ’s financials and operations, her contributions to membership growth and her strong and growing external presence in the wider business community.

Laura has contributed to the Chamber for over 10 years, serving as the Deputy Executive Director for the past five-and-a-half years and previously as the Membership Services Associate Director and the Programs Development Manager. Prior to joining the Chamber, Laura was a Human Resources Director in the private sector.

Laura has, among other things, helped increase the numbers of our corporate sustaining members and our female members, made hard decisions when cost cutting was required and oversaw the Chamber’s very successful USJC-ACCJ Women in Business Summit last May.

This concludes a robust five-month search for Sam Kidder’s successor. Laura was the leading applicant out of 59, including candidates with US government, trade association, NPO, chamber of commerce and private sector experience.

I would like to thank Vicki Beyer, Jack Bird and Chris LaFleur for serving with me on the search committee, and Tom Clark, Andy Conrad, Debbie Howard, Eric Sedlak, William Swinton and Jim Weisser for participating in the final round of in-person and telephone interviews of the final candidates.

Please join me in congratulating Laura and supporting her as she transitions into her new role.

Thank You for Your Generosity
The pioneer spirit of the Wild West included a generous commitment to one’s community. Thank you for embodying that spirit in your tremendous support of the 2014 Charity Ball.

With nearly 400 attendees participating in the silent and live auctions and purchasing raffle tickets, as well as 72 generous sponsors, we were able to raise ¥10.4 million for charity.

Less than two weeks after the Charity Ball, we distributed ¥2 million to the YMCA–ACCJ Ohisama Camp, ¥2.25 million to the Mike Makino Fund for the Homeless and ¥1.5 million each to JKSK, Smiling Hospital Japan and the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund. Any residual amount will be donated to the ACCJ Community Service Fund so that further contributions can be made to local charities with emergency needs throughout the year.

Photos from the event can be seen at:

Congratulations Kumi Sato
Last month the Board of Governors named Kumi Sato as ACCJ Chairman Emeritus, in recognition of her 27-plus years of outstanding service to the Chamber.

Among her contributions, Kumi has:
(i) Served as a Governor (1997-2002; 2010), Vice President (2003-2006; 2008-2009), Chamber Chairman (2011-2012), Special Advisor (2007), External Affairs Committee Chair (1995-1996), Japanese Membership Recruitment Task Force Co-Chair (2003-2004) and Leadership Forum Co-Chair (2010),
(ii) Made significant contributions to core advocacy position papers such as the 2010 growth strategy white paper,
(iii) Pioneered the Chamber’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts by chairing the CSR Task Force in 2006 and overseeing the drafting of the Chamber’s first CSR white paper, “Conscientious Commerce,” which resulted in the establishment of the Chamber’s CSR Committee (now the Sustainability Committee) and the start of the Chamber’s ongoing CSR-related activities, and
(iv) Championed many advocacy positions (including those related to labor, diversity and Womenomics) on behalf of the Chamber.

Please join me in congratulating Kumi and thanking her for setting such a fine example of the true meaning of volunteerism.



Jay Ponazecki