Speech to the JBCE General Assembly on 1st July, 2014
I am very honoured to be elected President of the Japan Business Council in Europe, and I would like to ask for your support and understanding during my tenure.
On behalf of all JBCE members, I would like first to take this opportunity to thank Paul Molyneux, my predecessor as the President of JBCE, for his substantial contributions during the past years.
I have worked for Toshiba for over 30 years; and most of that time has been spent on international business. I began my current assignment, which is my second in Europe, in June 2012. My first European assignment was in Germany from 2007 to 2009, after which I returned to Tokyo, and I was General Manager of Strategic Planning at Toshiba headquarters.
From my experience there looking at Europe from Toshiba’s Japanese headquarters, I believe many people in Japan tend to feel Europe is a distant world, compared to Asia and even the US. However, since my return to Europe, and with the experience of taking part in various gatherings, such as the Davos meeting, I have come to increasingly realise that there are many common issues where Europe and Japan could work together to address the pressing global challenges such as the environment, ageing society, and liberalization of markets, and that by addressing these issues would in turn provide us with new potential markets. I would like, therefore, to work with all of you to seek business opportunities in Europe, and, if necessary, to raise our voice through JBCE to build greater understanding among relevant stakeholders in Europe.
This year marks the 15th anniversary since JBCE was established to represent European subsidiaries of Japanese companies. In recent years, our Council has steadily secured its role as a unique bridge between EU and Japanese industries. This was underlined by last May’s Dialogue between Prime Minister Abe and business leaders from the EU and Japan, jointly organized by JBCE and BUSINESSEUROPE. JBCE is now recognized as a credible organization that European policymakers have learned to trust. This is reflected in our positive contributions to EU legislation, particularly in relation to the Environment, Product Safety and CSR.
After 15 years of achievement, JBCE must today meet the many expectations of both internal and external stakeholders. I can see three areas where we can do that.
- First, continued support for current negotiation on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement. Strong support from both EU and Japan business is essential if we are to realize a basic agreement within 2015. Our unique position as platform linking EU and Japanese business will allow us to deliver comprehensive support for the early conclusion of the negotiations.
- Second, contribute further to realizing common regulatory framework and responsible business conduct in the EU and Japan. The expertise of a European organization of Japanese origin will be of great help in enhancing the competitiveness of the EU and Japan.
- Third and last, we must strengthen JBCE’s communication function. The Council’s membership has grown from around 20 electronics companies 15 years ago to almost 70 companies today, from a wide range of sectors. We need to reflect this evolution in JBCE’s activities and contributions, and doing that really depends on effective communication with all stakeholders.
Again it is my great pleasure to assume the Presidency of the JBCE during such an important period. I really look forward to working with all JBCE members and stakeholders.
Corporate Vice President
Corporate Representative – EMEA