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  • 20 Sep 2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Launch of Rugby Alliance, coalition of 8 international Chambers of Commerce, supporting Japan's Rugby World Cup 2019

    Tokyo, Japan (September 20, 2018) With only one year until the Rugby World Cup 2019, 8 foreign Chambers of Commerce in Japan have formally announced the creation of a coalition, The Rugby Alliance, launched at a special event “Rugby World Cup 2019 – One Year To Go” on Wednesday, 19 September at Happo-en.

    The mission of The Rugby Alliance is to support Japan’s delivery of next year's Rugby World Cup, fostering a legacy of more inclusive communities that embrace opportunities for international business and exchange.

    The pledge

    To solidify the intent of the coalition, an official certificate was received by the CEO of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee, Mr Akira Shimazu, accepting The Rugby Alliance's pledge to:
    • Promote exchange and networking among the Japanese and international business community;
    • Highlight Japan’s regions as tourist destinations;
    • Compile and share a master calendar of rugby related events for the benefit of all stakeholders; and
    • Channel combined resources into the delivery of at least three events to be co-hosted by the Chambers between September 2018 and September 2019.

    Rugby Alliance members

    Representing 10 of the 19 nations that will be playing in the Rugby World Cup 2019, The Rugby Alliance is comprised of the following Chambers of Commerce in Japan.

      One year to go

      Rugby World Cup 2019 – One Year To Go” was attended by over 300 guests, including special guests World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Vice Chairman, Agustin Pichot, World Rugby CEO, Brett Gosper, World Rugby COO and Head of Rugby World Cup, Alan Gilpin, and World Rugby Executive Director - Rugby World Cup 2019, Rob Abernethy.

      In addition to the formal announcement of The Rugby Alliance, guests were treated to a panel discussion with Japan Wheelchair Rugby player and bronze medalist, Hiroyuki Misaka, and former Sakura Sevens player, Aya Nakajima.

      Andrew Gauci, Chair of ANZCCJ said last night, "Whether you’re an official World Cup sponsor or a small company working with tourism organisations in the prefectures, rugby is a vehicle that brings our businesses together and RWC19 will be proof of that. ANZCCJ was proud to see the Rugby Alliance partners come together for the first time last night as we commit to make sure RWC19 not only benefits Japanese and foreign companies but also builds toward Japan’s legacy and future.”

      Melanie Brock, Chair Emeritus of the Australian New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan said, “The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan provides Japanese business and our joint Chamber members a rare opportunity to work together and that’s exciting and a privilege. Moreover, the Japan-wide nature of the World Cup, allows us to engage with and learn more about regional Japan. RWC 2019 will reshape the way the world sees the country.”

      Jaco Minnaar, Chair of the South African Chamber of Commerce in Japan said, "Rugby World Cup 2019 will mark the first time this prestigious event will be held in Asia, and this provides Japan with a unique opportunity to highlight its culture and promote local business to millions of rugby fans globally. Through support of the international business community in Japan, the Rugby Alliance is set to build out the reach of local communities and to foster diversity and inclusion.  This first event marked the start of that exciting journey, and was a testament to the Alliance’s commitment to Japan, RWC 2019, and business overall."

      Lori Henderson Executive Director of the BCCJ said, “We believe that this event is a key moment in time for communities and businesses – both Japanese and foreign – to celebrate the potential of the RWC 2019 as a once-in-a-generation opportunity and an agent for societal innovation. We’re excited that the Rugby Alliance Chambers have pledged to support Japan's 12 host cities in delivering an outstanding tournament next year.” 

      Local stakeholders

      In addition to the eight Japan-based international Chambers of Commerce that comprise the Rugby Alliance, this event was co-hosted by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Local Japanese Chambers of Commerce from host cities also joined the event, utilising it as a chance to promote their regions and network with the international business community.

      This event marks the first of three collaborative events to be hosted by the Rugby Alliance between now and the start of the Rugby World Cup 2019, which will take place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. The next large-scale session will take place in March 2019, with the theme Women in Rugby. 

      Akira Shimazu, CEO of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee said he was surprised and delighted by the cross-Chamber initiative.

    • 19 Sep 2018 8:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



      Legalising marriage equality would be economically good for business in Japan

      Five foreign chambers of commerce call for marriage equality for same-sex couples in Japan in proposal published today

      (TOKYO, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 19, 2018) The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) today published a Viewpoint recommending to the Government of Japan the extension of freedom to marry to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) couples as good for business in Japan and strengthening the country’s status on the international stage. The Viewpoint has also been endorsed by the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ), British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) and Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce (IJCC).

      Specifically, the Viewpoint calls for the removal of handicaps facing companies doing business in Japan in recruiting and retaining talent, and in treating the full diversity of their workforce equitably.

      The five chambers of commerce see the benefits of a commitment to marriage equality as three-fold:

      1.       International Competitiveness: The Cost of Attracting and Retaining LGBT Talent

      Japan is competing for talent on a worldwide scale. Currently, 25 countries that legalised marriage equality have a competitive advantage over Japan because they offer LGBT talent a more inclusive environment, granting same marital rights to all couples, regardless of gender.

      2.       Encouraging a More Diverse and Productive Workplace Environment

      Expanding the freedom to marry would help close the gap in treatment between LGBT couples and their married peers, supporting the former to feel more comfortable being true to themselves and allowing them to contribute their full creative energy in the workplace.

      3.       Supporting a More Diverse and Inclusive Community

      In the workplace, 47% of LGBT individuals who are not “out” feel isolated, and this “invisibility” is considered a major psychological obstacle to their sense of wellbeing at work.

      These five chambers of commerce believe these commitments to be foundational elements of a work environment conducive to maximum productivity, and to achieving workplaces that are demonstrated to be more productive for all employees.

      Public support for same-sex marriage is growing, both within Japan and internationally. Legislating the requisite changes would result in concrete benefits for the LGBT community, for all companies doing business in Japan and for Japanese companies doing business abroad. In addition to benefitting the country’s overall economic competitiveness, extending the right to marry to same-sex couples would positively impact Japan’s reputation on the world stage by demonstrating its continued commitment to individual liberty and progressive ideals.

      For these reasons, the ACCJ, ANZCCJ, CCCJ and IJCC strongly recommend to the Government of Japan that it adopt the extension of freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

      With the 2020 Olympics fast approaching, they recommend that the time to do so is now.


      Aston Bridgman

      The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ)

      Tel:+81 (0)80-4124-7460 /


      *Specific inquiries to each of the chambers of commerce in Japan can also be directed to:

      • American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Aston Bridgman: 080-4124-7460 /
      • Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) Judith Hanna: 03-4400-2972 /
      • Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) Jim Zhang: 03-6811-2391 /
      • Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce in Japan (IJCC) Paul Gilsenan: 03-3263-8520 /

    • 30 Aug 2018 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      On 19 August we saw an important milestone reached for the city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture - the opening of the Unosumai Memorial Stadium. ANZCCJ has been a long term partner and supporter of the Kamaishi community and the  Tohoku region. It was an honour to witness the opening match at the newly constructed stadium between the local Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club and Top League side Yamaha Jubilo. The inaugural event was enjoyed by a crowd of 6,000 people, reaching the stadium's current capacity. Kamaishi has a long and proud history of rugby, with the previous local team, Nippon Steel having won seven consecutive national championships between 1979 and 1985.

      The two teams have a strong bond with the Yamaha Jubilo being the first team to visit Kamaishi just three months after it was hit by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Although the result did not go the way of the home town Seawaves (29-24), there was an overwhelming sense of pride and hope on display from the supporters and community of Kamaishi. Unosumai Stadium will play host to two matches for the RWC19, and is the only newly-built facility out of the 12 RWC19 venues.

    • 30 Aug 2018 1:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      General Manager for Sarment Japan, Manuel Rodriguez shared about his four years in Japan as head of wine at the Grand Hyatt for three years, and at Sarment since 2016. Founded in 2012, Sarment is the fastest-growing luxury company in Asia whose Tokyo office was opened in January last year. In 2014, Sarment established itself as a reference to manage and curate luxury products and experiences for high-net-worth individuals based on a unique service know-how and tapping into its unparalleled network of service partners. Sarment launched their AI-driven digital luxury platform Keyyes in April of this year. 

      With the global shift towards technology and AI, Sarment has identified an opportunity to create an application (Keyyes) that connects international enterprise, preferred partners and individuals to a gated digital platform. The Keyyes app currently has 18 different lifestyle categories including Wine, Dining, Bars, Boutiques and Automotive with content curated by the Sarment team in each of its city. Sarment currently operates in five cities (Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris) with a goal of 19 cities globally by 2020.   

    • 30 Aug 2018 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      On 8 August, ANZCCJ members and guests were invited for a discussion with Panasonic Wild Knights and Super Rugby Coach Robbie Deans, with special guests Sunwolves CEO Yuji Watase and Senior Director at the Rugby World Cup Planning Committee, Koji Tokumasu. Deans` Super Rugby coaching career was the most successful in Super Rugby history having coached the Crusaders through a number of wins as well as coach to the Wallabies, Assistant Coach to the All Blacks and currently the Panasonic Wild Knights.

      When Deans first joined the Crusaders (as Manager), they were ranked last on the ladder. He was simultaneously appointed to the role of Coach of the Canterbury Provincial team and won the NPC Title for the first time in 14 years. To motivate his new squad, they decided to start with the end in mind in other words, what would it look like when they have mastered the competition? For the Crusaders the core focus was coaching. Deans went on to outline 5 key points that helped nurture the winning culture of the Crusaders which included: Viewing challenges or obstacles as stepping stones; Promoting a learning environment with a long-term focus; Creating a collective purpose with a shared vision; Peer-driven leadership; And fostering a ‘live it’ culture. Robbie finished his Super Rugby coaching career with 7 championships (two as a manager and 5 as coach).

      Moving discussions to his current role at the Panasonic Wild Knights, he mentioned that it had been a privilege and pleasure to coach in Japan. Japan has the unique situation in which it captures the rugby culture of old, amateurs and professionals blend together and play for the love of the game. 

    • 28 Aug 2018 9:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      The Australian Rugby Foundation would like to invite ANZCCJ Members and Non-members to the Pre-match Bledisloe Lunch at Wallaby Bar (ANA InterContinental MIXX Bar L36). Enjoy some of the best views Tokyo has to offer, an amazing internationally renowned menu and the Wallaby House atmosphere with special appearances by Classic Wallabies.

      Tickets includes a two hour all-inclusive lunch package and private bus transfer to and from the match. To book please follow the link.

    • 22 Aug 2018 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Are you a business owner looking for a business plan tailored to the Japanese market for your market entry or business expansion? If so, take part in the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) which is now celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The ANZCCJ is a proud founder and sponsor of the JMEC programme and encourages our members and the greater business community to get involved.

      As a JMEC Project Client, you can receive a professional business plan developed by some of Japan's brightest up-and-coming business leaders for a fraction of the cost of hiring outside consultants. To learn more about this opportunity, including eligibility requirements, visit the JMEC homepage at You can find the application form here:

      JMEC is also looking for individual applicants to participate in the program and learn how to research and develop a professional business plan. This ‘mini MBA’ style program includes classroom training with experienced executives and successful entrepreneurs as lecturers—as well as hands-on experience in writing a business plan for a real business project, submitted by a real company. Interested applicants can find more information and apply here:

      ANZCCJ is open to receiving applications for those interested in participating but looking for sponsorship to cover the participation fee of JPY150,000. Applicants must send through details to the Executive Director, Judith Hanna, stating what they hope to get out of the opportunity and how they will use this to further the Chamber’s mission - to represent, inform and provide commercial connections for its members. The successful applicant must be Australian, New Zealand or Japanese as well as a member of the Chamber.

    • 03 Aug 2018 9:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Congratulations to all the winners from JMEC's 24th annual competition

      JMEC 24 Press Release
    • 31 Jul 2018 1:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      ANZCCJ members were invited to join the Roppongi Bar Association, a network of legal professionals in Tokyo, for a panel discussion on Japan’s hopes to become a leader in international arbitration and mediation. The discussion was focused on two recent articles (“Japan`s New Bid to Compete in Arbitration“ and “Thoughts on Necessary Change in Japan“). Panel members included: Yoshimasa Furuta of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Yoshihiro Takatori of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliff, Tony Andriotis of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, and Michael Mroczek of Okuno & Partners.

      Panel members discussed how the Japanese government in conjunction with top lawyers in Japan were addressing the issue of the lack of mediation and arbitration between companies and organisations in Japan. At present, unless you are a Japanese qualifiedlawyer you cannot practice mediation and arbitration in Japan. Panel members agreed that there was a necessity for laws in Japan to change and there is work underway with the Ministry of Justice to address the issue.

      The lack of mediation and arbitration facilities in Japan was also brought up as a reason for why Japan was not frequently used as a hub arbitration. To address this, panel members noted that dispute resolution centres have been opened in Osaka, Tokyo, and plans are underway for an international dispute resolution centre to open in Japan, and panellists expected this to be in Tokyo, however the details are still being finalised. The issue now is how to grow the pool of arbitrators to fill these facilities, including through targeted education in arbitration.

    • 31 Jul 2018 1:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      On 24 July YEP  held their third event since its inception this year. Panellists for the event included Cristina Merino (Head of Customer Relations, STH Japan), Mukund Rajan (Partner, PWC Strategy&), Gisselle Bates (General Manager, Global Compliance Promotion Department Lixil Corporation) and Vanessa Oshima (Vice President, Marketing, Starbucks Japan). YEP Chair Sam Brustad welcomed all to the event and noted one of the key aims was to help connect and empower young professionals in Tokyo. Sam noted that it was a great time to be a young professional in Tokyo, with 1 in 10 young people being a foreigner.

      Two key questions were posed to panellists – the necessity of Japanese language to find work in Japan and career progression and development in Japan. Each panellist gave their own unique insights. Several of the panellists noted that a high level of Japanese language ability was not always a necessity, however what is more important is to have cultural understanding, adaptability and a willingness to learn. Other panellist’s opinions differed on this however, and noted for graduate roles or entry level positions, it is necessary to have proficiency. All panellists agreed that the more senior the position is at a company the less important language ability becomes. 

      Discussions then delved into career progression. One panel member noted that promotions and career development varied through companies, and many companies have a strength-based appraisal system in place. One panellist offered valuable information for guests to use in their futures careers: play to your strengths, make yourself visible, produce quality work and network. Ending the panel session of the evening on a good note, another panellist noted that it is a good time to be in Japan as many companies are becoming more outward looking.    

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