• 30 Aug 2018 1:06 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

    JMEC 24 Press Release
  • 31 Jul 2018 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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.    

  • 30 Jul 2018 10:32 AM | Anonymous

    On 18 July ANZCCJ together with Victoria Trade and Investment hosted a breakfast with Treasurer and Minister for Resources Mr. Timothy Pallas along with Special Minister of State, the Honourable Gavin Jennings. The delegation had a focus on Victoria’s post budget economy and recent infrastructure projects which were helping to drive Victoria’s economic growth. Attendees were left with a strong impression of why Victoria is a place for the Japanese to visit, invest and do business in.

    Transport was highlighted as a key priority for the current Government with AU$35 million earmarked for the sector and more than 50 projects and reforms. To enable this and support the huge population growth (since 2014 Melbourne has increased in size equal to the population of Canberra). Key infrastructure investments were being prioritised, including the West Gate Tunnel Project. Mr Pallas noted the project has an expected 5-year build time and will change how people move around in Melbourne and how trucks get to the port. The project will also improve the distance and time for people to connect to the Melbourne economy. The Level Crossing Project, a signature of the government was also discussed. The project aims to remove 50 of Victoria’s most dangerous and congested crossings, helping the community get home safer and sooner as well as creating more jobs for the Victorian economy. These large-scale projects are supported by 32 public private partnerships, bringing in AUD30 billion in capital investment.

    The Minister, Hon. Gavin Jennings noted the long-standing relationship between Victoria and its sister prefecture Aichi, for which he planned to visit during this trip to Japan. Victoria is home to several Japanese companies, with over 10,000 Victorians employed by them. The Victoria-Japan trade and economic relationship remains strong with Victoria’s exports to Japan reaching AUD1.7 billion in 2017.The minister highlighted Melbourne’s strength as a highly liveable city, pointing out that art, sport and culture experiences were merely within 15-20 minutes walking distance from one another. He quoted that on average, 29,000 attendees went to Japanese baseball games, but in Melbourne the average was 52,000 for AFL matches at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.

    Mr Tim Pallas and the Honourable Gavin Jennings also highlighted Victoria’s strong position within the Australian national economy, with the State being Australia’s leader in population growth, employment growth and full-time employment. Per Capita GDP is also double that of the national average. Since 2014 jobs have increased by 12 percent increase and accounts for one third of national job growth. Of this, Mr Pallas said 1 in 7 jobs were expected to be public servants including teachers, doctors and others.

    This visit was the Treasurer’s second official visit to Japan his last visit being in 2015 and Minister Jennings third time visiting Japan, although first in his official capacity.

  • 30 Jul 2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    ANZCCJ Members and guests were given the opportunity to attend a panel discussion with innovative Tech Start-ups from Australia, New Zealand and Japan., Carter Search, Get Up, Moneytree JP, Million Steps and Japan Travel K.K all shared unique insights of their experiences starting up tech companies in Japan.

    During discussions, panellists considered the differences in selling products to consumers in the Japanese markets versus other markets. Members of the panel pointed out the more detail-oriented nature of Japanese consumers, compared to the importance of product reviews and ratings in the Australian market. Australian consumers will tend to buy products based on high ratings and reputations and not care about details of the product. Research has shown that on average a Japanese consumer will read to the bottom of webpages detailing product/services descriptions, whereas an Australian consumer may only read the top third of the page. where as Japanese consumers will want to know very detailed specifics of the product.

    Language and cultural barriers amongst employees were also brought up as a potential challenge for tech companies establishing themselves in Japan. Panel members had different perspectives on how to address these challenges. One panellist suggested the use of interns to create a multicultural work environment, but those interns needed to be able to handle stress and be nice to deal with. Another panellist suggested making your policies as and where you see fit and not being closed to the kinds of people you hire where he personally would choose someone who first had the cultural fit for the company and second had either English or Japanese as a native language, the rational being that a global company will naturally attract globally minded people. Another panellist went for an even greater mix – 50% Japanese and 50% non-Japanese which didn’t just include Westerners but also competitive labour from South East Asia and India for some of the high grind work like API integration. The Japanese employees would be useful for meetings and client interfaces, but behind the scenes other forms of labour should be used to keep prices down without compromising on technical qualities or a professional end product/service. Emphasis was also placed on importance of relationships and trust in doing business in Japan. An interesting fact pointed out was that the disposable income of a Japanese citizen for one year equated to the disposable income of eight inbound tourists in one week, so to assume that Japanese customers have a high amount of disposable income would be wrong, but instead tourists who came to Japan would be contributing more to local demand than some might think

    To summarise important aspects of the start-up sector, Paul Chapman from Moneytree said that the industry term commonly used was BeuCon or a beauty contest. In the start-up space it is important for businesses to be the most beautiful in the space, meaning the most relationships, a great story behind the company, be a technology that consumers actually want and have popularity. Chapman noted that this is important in both the Japanese and Australian markets, because as start-ups they are selling `the future` to investors. The Bridge, an online media outlet covering tech and start up news in Japan reported on the event. The article can be read in English here or in Japanese here.

  • 30 Jul 2018 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    Australia Japan Foundation grant recipient Felix Karmel spoke to ANZCCJ Members and guests at Mitsubishi Energy Corporation on his findings regarding Australia’s energy deregulation experience and what lessons Japan can take from it. Australia began its reform process in 1991, it was not until 1998 however that the national energy market opened. Since the time of reform, Australia has learnt much from the process, and Felix spoke to members about five key lessons the Japanese government could take from the Australian experience.

    1. Energy markets are complicated due to the mix of the monopolistic nature of transmission and distribution networks but in the generation and retails sectors, there are a number of competitive forces at play. This complexity underpins the need for careful regulation of the industry.
    2. Federal government and other political factors make it difficult to achieve successful reforms without there being a proper transitional process in place dampen price shocks to consumers and reduce the financial risk to government as well as private investors.
    3. Australia’s experience shows that there is substantial interest from the private sector to invest into the energy sector, including from overseas.
    4. Price volatility must be expected. Political instability and environmental policy changes have substantial impact on prices in the wholesale and retail markets.
    5. Customers may very well experience a price increase because whilst the competitive market will assign resources more efficiently, this does not always correlate to lower prices.

    Looking back on research data, Felix identified key moments in which energy prices had increased dramatically, and the causation of price shock. Key factors included: low quality air conditioners joining the market, retailers being allowed to own generators, the introduction of the carbon tax, gas shortage and introduction of federal environmental policies.  Felix spoke in detail to members about energy retailers being allowed to own generators. He argued that in his opinion this was a mistake as it allowed retailors to create a monopoly on the market and to price gauge (ACCC findings on the National Energy Market can be found here).

    In his presentation Felix noted a number of government benefits that deregulation could bring, including: the freeing of government resources, an increase in private investment into the sector and a reduction in service delivery prices. When asked what the single most important lesson from the Australian scenario that Japan could learn from would be, Felix said it would be that Japan should deregulate the market slowly, don’t go too fast. There are a number of factors to consider, many of these interdependent and hard to predict, so regulators should take their time to deregulate this sector.

    Link to full presentation here.

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