The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The mission of the American Chamber of Commerce (ACCJ) in Japan is to further develop commerce between the United States and Japan; to promote the interests of US companies and members; and to improve the international business environment in Japan.

This is achieved through the ACCJ’s virtuous circle of networking, information, and advocacy. It is the latter through which the collective power of the chamber’s members can affect positive change in Japan’s business climate.

Although you may not have considered becoming involved in advocacy, if you have an idea to make business easier, this is the channel through which your view could become reality.

The ACCJ advocates by developing solutions-based recommendations and strategically disseminating those recommendations to key stakeholders and influencers, which may include media, opinion leaders, business organizations, and the governments of Japan and the United States. Advocacy is our networking advantage, as it brings together the experience and expertise of our diverse membership to find solutions and encourage global best practices.

Because advocacy positions represent committee positions (rather than one-company issues) and are developed through a process that involves all levels of leadership, they become our official position on the subject. Therefore, your recommendations can help guide where the ACCJ stands on an issue.



Advocacy efforts are based upon the following Core Advocacy Principles, which the ACCJ believes are critical to the further development of commerce between the United States and Japan and to the further improvement of the international business environment in Japan:
■ Free Market Principles
■ Level Playing Field
■ Transparent and Fair Process
■ Global Best Practices
■ Corporate Social Responsibility
■ Solutions-Based Recommendation
■ US–Japan Economic Integration and
Regional Leadership

All advocacy documents are developed by committees, and are then reviewed by the Board of Governors (BOG) and the External Affairs Advisory Council (EAAC).

Advocacy documents can take one of six primary forms:
press release
public comment
white paper
advocacy letter

A viewpoint is a brief paper that identifies a specific issue and presents solutions-based recommendations to address that issue. A public comment is a written response to a government call for comment on proposed policy or regulatory change. A white paper is an extended document that presents solutions-based recommendations on a specific issue in detail or on a broad range of issues. An advocacy letter is a statement on a particular issue directed to a particular stakeholder or group of stakeholders. A presentation is a collection of statements on ACCJ official positions that are used during an event, such as the Washington, DC Doorknock.

Once committee members have agreed on a final draft and a Japanese translation has begun, the review process is initiated to ensure consistency with format, existing ACCJ positions, and the ACCJ’s Core Advocacy Principles. Reviews are conducted in English. Ideally, the process takes about 10 working days, with exceptions for documents over 1,400 words and cases where the English or Japanese version requires significant revision.

Advocacy not only advances the mission of the ACCJ, but this element of the virtuous circle helps position the ACCJ as one of the most knowledgeable and influential business organizations in Japan. By becoming involved, you can help guide the business environment for both global and domestic companies in Japan.

Not sure where to start? The ACCJ’s External Affairs Department can help. Please contact them at

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-chief of The Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.
Advocacy not only advances the mission of the ACCJ, but this element of the virtuous circle helps position the ACCJ as one of the most knowledgeable and influential business organizations in Japan.