The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

As president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), I am proud of the remarkable and important work being done by the ACCJ on behalf of its members throughout Japan on a broad range of issues and topics.

In just the past few weeks, the chamber has been involved in various high-level talks and briefings. These include:

  • Meeting with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas to discuss the US–Japan partnership
  • A panel discussion with the Union of Kansai Governments about the Kansai Digital Health Platform
  • An extraordinary event with Jim Bridenstine, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (page 11)
  • ACCJ-Kansai Women in Business Summit (page 14)
  • The 56th Annual Japan–US Business Conference in Washington, DC
  • Event with Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki, chief medical and global health officer at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

The breadth of ACCJ activity, and the engaging ways in which members and committees participate on a daily basis, is quite impressive. I strongly encourage our members to get involved and stay up to date through the chamber’s social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

US–JAPAN TRADE AGREEMENTS
I am extremely enthusiastic about the signing of the US–Japan Trade Agreement, which features several key achieve­ments, including positive steps forward for agriculture and industrial goods.

I am particularly encouraged by the bilateral agreement on digital trade, which will help ensure even greater success for innovative US companies in the Japanese market. Ensuring a forward-focused framework for the digital economy has been a priority of the ACCJ, and we have held long-standing positions on critical components of the agreement, such as data flows, privacy, and localization.

In our efforts to continue to be a voice for members, the ACCJ was pleased to co-host with Keidanren—the Japanese Business Federation—the 10th Annual Internet Economy Dialogue, a forum for private-sector input into US and Japanese government discussions on this sector. The joint statement from this event is available on the ACCJ website.

To provide all members timely access to information on the trade updates, the ACCJ held a member-only conference call on October 11. The call focused on what the new trade agreement means for members and the ACCJ’s commitment to the next stage of negotiations toward a comprehensive trade agreement on the wide range of outstanding issues that remain.

ONGOING ENGAGEMENT
One of the unique strengths of the ACCJ as an on-the-ground organization is our ongoing engagement with key stakeholders in the Government of Japan. Over the past year, the chamber has had more than 50 meetings and visits with key agencies of the Japanese government to exchange ideas, share the positions of US businesses in Japan, and listen to the perspective of policymakers.

This dialogue ensures discussion, debate, and, ideally, reso­lution of the challenges faced by member companies in Japan. The Diet Doorknock, our largest consolidated advocacy effort, is being planned for early 2020 and we look forward to, once again, meeting with policymakers and senior officials in the Japanese government.

CAP THE YEAR
Heading into the final two months of the year, I would like to remind you of two key avenues for engagement with the chamber.

The Board of Governors election starts on November 11 and ends on November 27. I encourage all eligible members to cast your vote for the ACCJ’s 2020 leaders. Your input will guide the future direction of the chamber.

To cap off the year, the ACCJ’s core value of corporate social responsibility will be front and center at the annual Charity Ball on December 7 at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku. The Charity Ball is a joyous affair that connects friends old and new while building support for local community organizations. This year’s theme, A Gold Medal Evening, will be a great way to celebrate all the ACCJ wins this year! I hope you will join us. As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions at pmjennings@accj.or.jp 

Peter M. Jennings is ACCJ President.
Over the past year, the chamber has had more than 50 meetings and visits with key agencies of the Japanese government.