The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

On October 19, President Christopher J. LaFleur led the third American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Town Hall in the boardroom of the ACCJ’s Tokyo office. The gathering offered members an opportunity to catch up on the latest initiatives and to hear directly from the leaders who are guiding them. Attendees also had a chance to share their thoughts and ideas for getting more out of ACCJ membership.

Key topics discussed at the October session included the Diet Doorknock, the Chubu Women in Business Summit, the changing face of membership, the new ACCJ website, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the upcoming Charity Ball.

ACCJ President Christopher J. LaFleur began the meeting by discussing the recent Diet Doorknock, the annual three-day outing conducted since 1994 during which teams of ACCJ members take their policy recommendations directly to the Diet through meetings with dozens of Japanese lawmakers, sometimes including cabinet members. He said this was the largest Diet Doorknock to date, and many feel the most successful.

Membership played an important role in the Town Hall discussion. The ACCJ currently has the most members in its history—more than 3,400—and the number of corporate sustaining members is also at its highest-ever level at 82.

Vice President–Tokyo Marie Kissel expanded on the topic of membership, talking about research being done to refine the activities of the chamber to better serve the changing composition of the membership. With a focus on the growth in Japanese members, women, and young professionals, member-facing committees have been working on recommendations that will guide future programming and services.

Speaking of programming, LaFleur praised the work of the ACCJ–Chubu chapter in hosting a very successful Women in Business Summit on September 13. Pointing out that fewer women are represented by Chubu area industries, he said that the summit injected great energy into the region.

Barbara Hancock provided an update on another bit of upcoming activity: the ACCJ’s annual Charity Ball. This year’s theme will take you back to Truman Capote’s iconic Black and White Ball, and members are encouraged to bring friends and guests to the event that will take place on December 3 at the Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku from 6:00 p.m. to midnight.

Jonathan Kushner, vice president–Tokyo, provided an update on the new website and its impending launch. The more streamlined, visually appealing, and responsive design will improve event registration, maintenance, and security, and will enhance the chamber’s ability to communicate with members and the broader community.

LaFleur also spoke about CSR and the chamber’s increasing activities in this area since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011.

The Town Hall meetings are open to all members, and we encourage everyone to join for drinks, networking, and fruitful discussion. Watch the ACCJ website at and the Insider newsletter for upcoming dates.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-chief of The Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.
The gathering offered members an opportunity to catch up on the latest initiatives.