Letter from the Chair

This month marks one year with Noriko Ishida as the CCCJ’s executive director and of me serving as chair. It’s been a busy first year, and I’m happy to report that the Chamber is stronger than it was a year ago. It is my honour to serve, and I am fortunate to have the support of the office and our Board overall. I must admit, though, that it’s a lot of work and
a steep learning curve. 

As presented at the AGM on June 30, our financials, membership numbers
and event revenues have all improved significantly. Membership alone is over 10 percent higher. In short, the Chamber has had a solid year. As a member-funded, member-driven organization, it is great to see how committed our members are to the organization and what we stand for, especially in these precarious times plagued by a global pandemic. 

Membership revenues are largely what keeps the Chamber’s lights on, so we will continue to prioritize growing our numbers while upgrading value for our existing members. I take particular note of our Sustaining Corporate Members for their stalwart support. Special thanks to Air Canada, Canadian Solar, Manulife, Mitsubishi Corporation, Teck Resources, the Quebec Delegation Tokyo, the Embassy of Canada to Japan and The Yokohama GRITS. 

On the event front, we enjoyed a better year than the previous few as restrictions on social gatherings eased. We managed to hold a number of macro business-focused events, including the Japan-Canada Chambers Council annual gathering in November and the Japan-Canada Energy Security Forum featuring Vice Chair Annamarie Sasagawa in December. We also put on successful programs on Indigenous engagement, sustainability, mentoring, business in Japan aspects, and estate planning. 

Since the CCCJ is tasked with promoting the development of commerce between Canada and Japan, those business-focused events are pivotal for our organization. However, I’m also a strong believer in the power of social networking events that reinforce the bonds between members, ultimately creating a stronger and closer-knit organization. This past year featured many more social networking events, including two fully subscribed golf tournaments, a year-end bonenkai to remember, a special Canada Day BBQ at the Official Residence with a live performance by rock legend Randy Bachman, as well as the return of our monthly mixers. Thanks very much to the Events Committee and Golf Committee for all their stellar work. I hope to see you at an event soon. 

On the advocacy front, our External Relations Committee has been proactively collaborating with various partners to strengthen the Canada-Japan business community’s voice. This year’s macro focus for advocacy has been to spotlight our community’s concerns to the Japanese government related to cross-border challenges and hindrances to the movement of people between Canada and Japan. We’ve deepened relationships with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Keidanren Committee on Canada, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japan Association of New Economy and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, European Business Council and many other foreign chambers in Japan. We put together several joint statements bringing the united voices of our business communities to the Japanese government’s attention, urging improvements in the situation. 

So I’m happy to report that Chamber affairs are in fine shape and look to remain so during the year ahead. Growing the membership and holding events valuable to our membership are essential. As many of you have heard me say, you get out of the Chamber what you put into it. Come to the events, join a committee or two; engagement is the best way to benefit from the CCCJ. 

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