• 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.    

  • 30 Jul 2018 10:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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 member (Administrator)

    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 member (Administrator)

    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.

  • 30 Jul 2018 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ANZCCJ in conjunction with the Japan Australia Business Cooperation Committee and the Australian Embassy welcomed Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo for a lunch and key note address to discuss trade and business opportunities between Australia and Japan on 2 July.

    The Minister commented on how Japan had emerged as a frontline advocate for trade liberalisation and Japan and Australia had together led the successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, against all odds. The Minister also highlighted Japan as one of Australia’s most valued economic and security partners. Looking to the future, the Minister mentioned the ways in which Australia and Japan could cooperate in third countries mainly through developmental assistance and infrastructure projects. He also noted the non-traditional investment opportunities for Japanese investors such as health insurance, renewable energy, medical technology and retail.

    Of particular note was that this was Minister Ciobo`s second year in a row to visit Japan on official duties and his second time to hold a luncheon with the Chamber. ANZCCJ Chair, Andrew Gauci also commented on how youthful Minister Ciobo`s delegation was which would be key for the future of Japan and Australia`s future commercial links. ANZCCJ`s own youth was well represented at the event which included JABCC-AJBCC Future Leader`s Co-Chairs, Kohei Tamura (Rio Tinto and Kanna Mihara (Macquarie) and ANZCCJ`s very own Youth Empowerment Co-Chair Eve Bentley. Ongoing participation and involvement in the new and emerging business leaders would be important for helping drive forward the commercial relationships between Australia and Japan.

    The Minister was in Japan for 6 days and included a meeting with his counterparts from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the first meeting of the Ministerial Economic Dialogue with his counterpart Minister Seko. Minister’s Seko and Ciobo, discussed how Australia and Japan can strengthen Australia and Japan’s economic partnership including through influencing the Asia Pacific’s regional trade architecture, infrastructure within and between countries, and the digital economy.

    Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee Chairman, Dr Akio Mimura also spoke about the warmth of Australian-Japanese trade relations, commenting that he saw room for the commercial links to grow. He also said there was a real need for absolute solidarity between these two countries as we were facing a time of uncertainty in the trade world and a `China First` and `US First` approach from the world`s two largest economies. The Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court commented on the strength of the economic relationship between Australia and Japan and the importance of their commitment to work together towards economic transparency and the promotion of a rules-based order in the Asia Pacific.

  • 24 Jul 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On 5 July the SFB committee welcomed Senior Director at the Rugby World Cup Planning Committee Koji Tokumasu to speak with members. Tokumasu was a driving force behind Japans successful RWC19 bid. During his discussion, Tokumasu noted that Australia and New Zealand played a significant role in helping Japan at various times, even at the cost of breaking away from traditional supporting alliances. Tokumasu said that whilst it was a long journey for Japan, after two failed bids to host, Japan’s successful bid in 2019 had a double positive effect, both enhancing the popularity and importance of rugby in Japan and Asia and paving the way for rugby union to be accepted as an official sport in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, a decision made by the Olympics Committee in 2009 right after the announcement of the 2015 and 2019 RWC hosts. Full SFB minutes can be found on the members resources page here.

    The full story shared by Tokumasu can be read on the ANZCCJ linked in here.

  • 11 Jul 2018 3:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On the evening of Thursday, 28 June, the ANZCCJ, together with the New Zealand Embassy, had the pleasure of hosting the Deputy Secretary for Trade and Economic Affairs from NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Vangelis Vitalis. Vitalis, previously served as New Zealand’s Chief Negotiator for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) (MFAT's CPTPP website) and was the NZ Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva and provided great insights on the current state of the global economy and trade trends. 

     Vitalis noted that Japan’s economy is the third largest in the world while NZ is fifty-fourth, and yet the two worked well together on global trade issues. He said that there was unease and uncertainty about trade and the impact of globalisation in many Western democracies which reflects a challenge to the two basic assumptions underlying the global economy, which New Zealand’s trade policy has been informed by since the establishment of the WTO in 1995. Number one is that trade rules in place since 1995 would expand and strengthen to reinforce stability, transparency and predictability for trade and second, that markets would expand and stay open (and increase in this way). Vitalis also noted that for 2018, there were expectations that this would be the worst year in terms of additional protectionist measures adopted in a long time, highlighting that while rules matter, they are currently being challenged. In addition, the enforceability of the rules-based system was under threat as a result of the ongoing difficulties regarding the WTO Appellate Body.

     Vitalis then turned to the NZ Government’s trade policy framework for these tumultuous times (see statement to parliamentary select committee). By way of context, he explained that CPTPP was a key element in this and that NZ like many other countries, wants it to form part of the regional architecture and be used to shape the future of trade in the region. Japan was a key commercial priority for NZ not least given the preferences some other countries like Australia and Chile had in the Japanese market through their bilateral FTAs. CPTPP offered a great deal of benefit to NZ exporters to the Japanese market. Zespri alone was set to save $26 million in the first year, as an example. In the dairy sector, which has long been a key industry for the New Zealand economy, whilst NZ negotiators weren’t able to secure all that it wanted in this area, they had still secured estimated tariff savings of $86 million per year once the agreement is fully implemented. Reductions in customs clearance times (48 hours) and self-certification for rules of origin were also noted as a key benefit.

     Vitalis then turned to address NZ’s trade policy, outlining its six inter-related elements: 1) Intensified effort to defend the rules-based trading system; 2) Embedding New Zealand in the evolving Asia Pacific trade and economic architecture; 3) Supporting and sustain global and regional ‘public goods’ that can reinforce the rules-based system, such as ADB, OECD, AIIB and APEC (and NZ’s commitment includes hosting APEC in 2021); 4) Supporting open plurilateralism as a building bloc for the WTO and multilateralism; 5) A new "Trade for All" agenda which has a domestic focus centred on increasing the benefits of trade for Maori, women, SMEs, the domestic regional economy and sustainability; and 6) An invigorated New Zealand economic diplomacy to support New Zealand firms internationally with practical tools and assistance on issues like non-tariff barriers (such as the NTB portal at The comprehensive speech by Mr. Vitalis was then followed by a dynamic question and answer session with the audience.

  • 29 Jun 2018 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, 26th of June the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with the Japan External Trade Organization, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and ANZCCJ held a NZ Business Seminar in Marunouchi. The seminar provided insight on how to promote business in New Zealand and focussed particularly on Japanese companies that are engaging with high-tech companies in New Zealand and also companies that are importing attractive New Zealand products to Japan.

    The event was opened by New Zealand Ambassador Stephen Payton, and  participants then heard from a number of guest speakers;  Koji Hikosaka Investment Manager at NZ Trade and Enterprise, Isamu Hasegawa from Luminous Productions (Square Enix), Don Roxburgh from Wholesum Japan Company, and Hiroshi Nishijo from Yamaha Motors Ventures and Laboratory Silicon Valley.

    Although the speakers were from a diverse range of industries (Software, Food Importing, and Robotics/Engineering) the presentations dovetailed together with a similar message painting NZ as a country that celebrates diversity, innovation, and providing wide-ranging opportunities for Japanese businesses to partner with innovative companies in a low risk and low regulation environment.

  • 25 Jun 2018 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Thursday, 7 June, this year's installment of the Joint Chamber Summer Cocktails was held at the Roppongi Hills Club and attracted more than 300 business people from different chambers.

    As always, this was an incredibly popular event with tickets selling out very quickly. Attendees enjoyed a wide range of food and drinks while networking and reconnecting with business people from other chambers against the beautiful view of the Tokyo skyline seen from the Roppongi Hills Club.

    This year the event was hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan and supported by all of the following chambers:

    American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Austrian Business Council

    Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan

    Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    German Chamber of Commerce in Japan (AHK)

    South African Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry

    British Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Greek Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan

    French Chamber of Commerce in Japan

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