by Peter Rolfs and Mina Takahashi
The mission of the ACCJ is to further develop commerce between the United States of America and Japan, promote the interests of US companies and members, and improve the international business environment in Japan. Established in 1948 by representatives of 40 American firms, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) has offices in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, and represents over 3,000 individual members from more than 1,400 companies and over forty countries. Now in its 59th year, the ACCJ has built its reputation on the strength of providing both American and Japanese members, as well as a rapidly growing international base, with unsurpassed opportunity and advantage through advocacy, information, and networking.
The ACCJ today is Japan’s most influential foreign business organization, and serves as the primary forum for the foreign business community in Japan to identify and pursue shared interests and goals. More than sixty Chamber committees, subcommittees, task forces, and advisory councils cover such diverse areas as financial services, corporate social responsibility, marketing, independent business, healthcare services, e-business, transportation and logistics, legal services, the travel industry, and human resource management.
ACCJ committees hold over four hundred and seventy-five exclusive programs a year. The annual agenda is comprised of hundreds of engagements with leading experts and shapers of policy and business trends in Japan. Speakers are drawn from the ranks of global business leaders, top US and Japanese government officials, industry experts, scholars, and pop culture icons. The underlying themes of the most significant events—the “pillars” of ACCJ activity under ACCJ President Charles D. Lake II (2006–2007) have been Support for Economic Reform in Japan, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Opportunities for ACCJ members to give back to the Japanese community are also made through charitable activities. Campaigns run by ACCJ members raised ¥30,445,281 for domestic charities in 2006. Whether social, educational, cultural, or charitable, every ACCJ event represents the inspiration and personal investment of ACCJ volunteer members.
The ACCJ is a high-profile participant in the debates that shape bilateral policy and conducts annual visits with key legislators in the US Congress and the Japanese Diet. Through official Viewpoint position papers, white papers and public comments, and thoroughly researched reports, the Chamber continuously works to expand foreign direct investment and market access in Japan for foreign firms, further deregulate the Japanese economy, and fully implement existing trade agreements between the United States and Japan. These advocacy efforts are conducted under a set of core advocacy principles (published on the ACCJ website www.accj.or.jp). The ultimate goal is to help improve the business and community environment of Japan, and contributions to progress in these areas over the past 59 years are among the ACCJ’s proudest achievements.