Next Steps

On behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ), a very happy new decade to you.

Matt Ketchum, Executive Director
Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Last year was full of hard work and wonderful developments, such as member growth, a wide selection of well run, well attended events as well as the formation of a number of active new committees. That’s not to mention a few surprises — including our connection to a community in Tohoku.

Around the Corner

We came out of 2019 feeling accomplished, invigorated and just a little bit tired. Now, we’re back in the office, and there’s a special feeling floating around that has us all very excited.

Our 2020 Maple Leaf Gala, to be held at the Embassy of Canada to Japan, is almost on our doorstep. Execution began long ago, and we can’t wait to show the audience — sold out, by the way — what we’ve got in store for them.

We’re also gearing up for moving our office on March 4 from our current location in Shinbashi to a Canadian-owned office space in Roppongi called Blink. They also happen to be a new CCCJ sustaining member, and they’re just behind another of our members, Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

Happening in the same month is our eighth annual Tohoku Youth Project internship program, which will be the largest ever. We will be bringing 16 students down from Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture to work and stay with CCCJ member organizations and families from March 15 to 21.

Speaking of Iwate (and if you’ve been reading this column, you might now know just how much I enjoy doing so), the relationships that we forged there just keep growing stronger. As you may have seen in the previous issue of The Canadian, in the aftermath of Typhoon 19 — which caused the Canada versus Namibia 2019 Rugby World Cup match in Kamaishi to be cancelled — members of the CCCJ and the Canada national rugby union team worked together to assist in local recovery efforts. Building on this connection, there are a few conversations going on at the moment, one of which is particularly exciting. But it is still nascent so I would be remiss to give any specifics. Just keep an eye out: if we’re lucky, we’ll have some spectacular announcements for you in the coming months.

Just keep an eye out: if we’re lucky, we’ll have some spectacular announcements for you in the coming months.

Chamber in Motion

Our Education Committee is moving forward with their new Speed Mentoring program. Our Wellness Committee is forging ahead with yoga classes and training. And our Investment Committee is putting the finishing touches to a new bilateral and bilingual Investment Guide.

There’s so much activity and growth going on in our committees, it is sometimes hard to keep track of it all — but that’s a great problem to have.

Our members, too, are seeing a whole lot of action through the chamber. There are talks between Canadian universities and immigration law firms about expediting student visa applications; there are members in the fintech sector speaking with real estate companies about housing and relocation; and there are travel companies exploring opportunities in experiential entertainment. And, of course, there are the Olympics, and so much more.

This is where that special feeling comes from — the gravity of all these pieces coming together and being able to watch them grow. But this isn’t just any growth. No, this is something bigger: more grand, diverse and multitudinous. We’re experiencing growth in our membership size and diversity, in attendance, in revenue streams and even in our geography. So this isn’t just growth, it’s more like — at the risk of overstating it — evolution.

Where will this take us over the next months? It’s hard to be certain, but so far, so great, and we’re looking forward to working with all of our members in taking this momentum and running with it!

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