Sport and Diversity Events Ahead (Executive Director's Message, April 2017)

April 18, 2017


In the April edition of the BCCJ magazine ACUMEN, Emma Hickinbotham, interim Executive Director of the BCCJ, talks about the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the importance of diversity.

Spring has finally arrived in Tokyo—a little later than I would have liked, but I am delighted to see the cherry blossoms and feel the warmer temperatures. The first quarter of 2017 is already behind us and I am constantly reminded of how time is flying by.

The major sporting events due to come to Japan over the next few years are as always a focus for us at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) and I am aware that the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are drawing ever closer. I was lucky enough to recently attend a workshop at the British Embassy Tokyo where the team from the British Consulate-General Rio de Janeiro shared their experiences of being in the host country of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games last year.

They had lots of great insights into how we can support the upcoming sporting events in Japan and how we can use the opportunity to showcase the very best of British business, sport and culture. Above all, however, their excitement and enthusiasm at being involved in the world’s biggest sporting events was contagious, and now I am looking eagerly ahead.

RWC draw
Britain has four home nations represented in the RWC, and the pool draw will take place on 10 May. Then we will find out who each nation needs to triumph over to proceed to the knock-out stages. Which games will create the most buzz? Which will prove challenging and generate interest? And which will provide the edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting agony that all sports fans secretly love?

Join us at the Roppongi Hills Club to watch a recording of the draw and discuss the implications of the results not just for fans, but also for businesses such as travel, hospitality, ticketing and tourism. It will be a great opportunity to hear from an expert panel on the topic and network with fellow BCCJ sports fans, as well as friends and colleagues from the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

For me, events such as the RWC and the Olympic and Paralympic Games are all about bringing together a diverse group of people with a common goal or interest. Whether it’s the individuals who make up the team, or the diversity of the fans, sport is a great vehicle for uniting people.

Brainstorm at the BCCJ
As most of you will know, diversity has been at the core of the BCCJ’s values for many years, and it continues to be a focus for us. There is great progress being made in Japan, such as planned legislation on limiting permitted overtime work and equal pay for men and women, but we appreciate that much remains to be done.

I would like to see more diversity at our events and throughout the chamber, and will be reaching out to the membership for ideas on how we can do this. I will be hosting a brainstorming session to get feedback on 25 April and invite all female BCCJ members to join me for a hands-on discussion to determine a clear strategy. That will be followed through by the BCCJ and incorporated into event planning to ensure more women participate in future BCCJ events.