Building Momentum

Dear Members,
As the fiscal year winds down and the weather warms up, I hope this finds you all in good health and optimistic about the spring and summer seasons ahead. 

Though it’s hard to believe, after checking the calendar I realize I am already entering my ninth month as chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ). It has been a very busy time, but with the support of a dedicated Board, committees and a very active and effective office, I am pleased with our performance through three quarters in these challenging Covid days.

David Anderson, Chair, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

On the advocacy front, our main focus has been working to ease heightened border restrictions and pushing for the resumption of international travel with Japan. Many thanks to the CCCJ External Relations Committee for their efforts with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the European Business Council in Japan, Keidanren, the Japan Associa­tion of New Economy and other business groups in bringing the voice of the international business community to the attention of the Japanese government. As I write this, I am pleased and relieved to see a plan being laid out to allow inbound international workers and visitors. Let’s hope that the Covid-related isolation is soon a thing of the past. 

MAKING CONNECTIONS

As I mentioned in my last message, a main priority of mine during my term is to work to bring more attention to, and understanding of, the Canada-Japan business relationship and opportunities therein.

In November, the CCCJ played a major role in the Japan-Canada Chambers Council, a high-level, well-attended annual event bringing together top executives and diplomats to update the broader community on bilateral business developments. In December, the chamber was happy to support the embassy with the three-day Canada-Japan Energy Security Forum, which provided a thorough analysis of the energy map across Canada and the opportunities there for Japan. We will continue our efforts to play a key connector role in facilitating two-way business understanding and expansion. 

Of course, business-focused events are important for the CCCJ in carrying out its mandate. But I am also a strong believer in the importance of social networking. Both bring our members together and make our bonds stronger. Though this has been a challenge in Covid days, we were able to put on a fantastic golf tournament in November and a bonenkai to remember in December. On both occasions, it was great to see the joyous reconnections of old friends and the forming of new bonds as well. A big shout out to the Events Committee for all the great work they do. Hopefully fiscal ’22 will allow our commu­nity to gather in person more frequently. A lot’s being planned. 

Thank you for your engagement with, and commitment to, the CCCJ.

EXCITING NEWS

On the membership side of things, I am happy to report good news. Despite this prolonged mess of a pandemic, it is great to see that member­ship in the chamber is on the increase. As you can see in the New Members section, the Membership Committee has been working in overdrive. I encourage longer-standing members to take some time and connect with our new members, get them involved and show them just how great a community we have. 

To our longer-term members, and newly welcomed ones, thank you for your engage­ment with, and commitment to, the CCCJ. As a member-funded, member-driven organization, we are only as strong as our membership and without your support we would cease to exist. The Board, committees and office are always working on new ideas to provide value for our members. During Covid this has been challenging, but please trust that we are doing our best and have great plans for the short-to mid-term. 

So, nine months in and what comes next? Well, first off, with the increase in membership, we are finally able to add additional and much-needed staff to the office. Big round of applause for our Executive Director Noriko Ishida, who has been running the show on her own for months now. With more staff, we will be better able to carry out our mandate and provide value to our members. 

In other exciting news, we now have our Call for Nominations out, as we move towards the 2022 election. Serving on the Board of the CCCJ is a great way to be engaged and have an impact. We’ve got six Board seats becoming vacant, and I very much encourage you to participate. 

Thanks to you all for your continued support and please never hesitate to be in touch. 

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