Global sporting events - the story so far

March 25, 2015

Last night, BCCJ members and guests attended an evening focused on Tokyo 2020 and Rugby World Cup 2019 related opportunities, at Compass Offices's Meguro Habitat.

Graham Davis, who leads the BCCJ's Global Sporting Events Taskforce, explained the work the Chamber has done so far, and outlined future events and opportunities over the coming months.

"It's the Chamber's view that with these global sporting events coming up, there will be many business, community and volunteering opportuities for us. We are also working closely with UKTI. Most importantly, we want to reach into the Japanese community and TOCOG (the Tokyo Games organising committee), the Japanese government and the Cabinet Office. We want to know what we can do to work with them and open doors for members, and thinking and advice.

"The Chamber has historically had links with Japanese business but this serves as an opportunity for a lot of people to develop much deeper relationships with Japanese business. It's also a good opportunity, through the Rugby World Cup in particular, to bring in regions of Japan.

"I see 2015 as being a really important year for the Games, the procurement and other processes have to start this year."

He explained guest speakers who were heavily involved with the London 2012 volunteer programme will present at a Chamber event in September.

Brian Christian, Principal at The British School in Tokyo, explained the school's approach to the upcoming sporting events and how the Games can be used to build a volunteer community.

"One of the ideas David Cameron had when he was elected was the Big Society. And of course the Big Society was "rubbish" but then two years later we saw the Big Society in action. Those volunteers really did an important job."

He added that the two sporting events were a chance to engage young people, although he admitted that to a student "five years feels a lifetime away" meaning the excitment would come much closer to the time.

Brian explained how the school is closely following developments with the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 - and has launched a dedicated Twitter account - BST Tokyo 19:20 - to keep track of developments and share its initiatives. The school intends to have the content curated by student volunteers, and is developing sporting themed teaching resources, based on both the events and Japan, to share with schools around the world.

The school's decision to use the upcoming sporting events as an opportunity to reach out internationally is similar to the goals behind the Japanese government's Sport for Tomorrow initiative. It's mission reads: "The Japanese government is committed to creating our future through the power of sport with more than 10 million people of over 100 countries from now until 2020. With the Sport for Tomorrow programme, Japan aims to be involved in the promotion of sport and the Olympic and Paralympic movement, including assistance to developing countries; train future sport leaders at the new international sport academy; and further protect and promote the values of sport by extending anti-doping initiatives globally."Chuo Rugby Football Union's Executive Director, Hiroyuki Koyama, revealed exciting plans for a street rugby event in Nihonbashi's Sakura Street in July have now been approved by Tokyo police. The green light means 3,500 people will visit the area and have the chance to play and watch rugby as well as buy food from around the world, including Britain.

Koyama san said: "We want to popularize rugby before the Rugby World Cup. There will be 50 short games and many people will be able to visit."

He added there would also be sponsorship opportunities for the events and that it was hoped to roll the format out across other Tokyo sites, and around the country, ahead of 2019.

BCCJ members also had the chance to ask questions and explain their plans and ideas for 2019-20.

Members said they wanted to see the Games used to improve diversity and inclusion and it was also suggested that Chambers work to bring athletes from the 1964 Games back to Tokyo.

Steve Crane, CEO of Business Link Japan, which is also one of the joint operators of the Export to Japan website, explained that the Olympics was generating a lot of buzz among UK based firms. "From a business view, we are seeing a lot of interest already. Over the last four weeks the 2020 section of the Export to Japan site has been the second most popular part, with 6,500 hits. It gives us the idea that the traffic and momentum is beginning to build."

Business opportunities were also discussed, with security and cyber security, energy - and the potential for a hydrogen-powered games, and branding and communication, being seen as key areas for the UK companies to explore, alongside the cultural legacy of the Games.

Collage photos by Dan Williams


Thank you to Compass Offices for kindly hosting this event.