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Content - SCCIJ to create even more value for members

  • February 21, 2017

SCCIJ to create even more value for members

Tokyo (SCCIJ) - At the 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the SCCIJ, President Mr. Michael Mroczek has highlighted the heightened attractiveness and popularity of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan. He referred to an increase in membership and a rising attendance at the luncheon events during the past year. The AGM confirmed four current board members in their positions and elected Mr. Masao (Mark) Torii as new executive committee member. Mr. Fabien Clerc took the position of SCCIJ Vice President Kanto from Mr. Markus Gfeller who resigned from the board after completing a four-year term. Also, the AGM decided to double the annual contribution of the SCCIJ to the Scholarship Fund of the Swiss-Japan Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.

SCCIJ AGM 2017

Report of the President

Swiss Ambassador Mr. Jean-François Paroz formally declared the Annual General Meeting opened. The Honorary Chairman of the SCCIJ told the assembled members of the SCCIJ that he would like to increase the visibility of Switzerland in Japan and foster bilateral economic relations during his term in Japan. "Our country is the sixth largest investor in Japan, which gives Switzerland a significant position in Japan", he said.  

In his review of the past year, SCCIJ President Mr. Mroczek emphasized several positive developments at the SCCIJ. First, the membership has grown by 9 percent. "The Chamber is getting very popular", he said. The rising number of associate members - Japanese and foreign companies - would prove the SCCIJ's attractiveness even beyond the Swiss business community.  

Successful voucher distribution

Mr. Mroczek also declared the voucher increase of the past year a success. SCCIJ members had received five extra vouchers for event and luncheon participation each as a measure to redistribute accumulated funds to the membership. As a result, 150 more vouchers were used compared to 2015, mainly by entrepreneur members who invited guests and co-workers. "So our objective that the members better utilize our platform and our offerings has been reached", the SCCIJ President said.  

He also thanked the current sponsors for their generous support in 2016. Those sponsors currently are: Platinum - Credit Suisse, Straumann; Gold - ABB, Commerzbank, DKSH, Okuno & Partners, Reishauer, Roche, Swiss, Swissotel Nankai Osaka, Unzen Kanko Hotel; Silver - Hotel Grand Phenix Okushiga, USM Modular Furniture; Bronze - Actelion; G&S Japan, Hilti, Nestlé, Pictet.

SCCIJ board with former and current EC members, advisors and staff (click to enlarge)

SCCIJ board with former and current EC members, advisors and staff (click to enlarge)

Report of PR/Media Committee

Mr. Matthias Frey, a SCCIJ Special Advisor from the Embassy of Switzerland and a member of the PR/Media Committee, reported positively about the state of PR and media at the SCCIJ. (The head of the PR/Media Committee, Mr. Jean-Jacques Makoto Jaccard, was unable to attend the AGM.) 95 news articles about Swiss-Japanese business relations and SCCIJ events were published on the website of the Chamber and 29 newsletters sent out to the membership.  

The design of the newsletter was renewed, the frequency was increased from biweekly to weekly, and the template made responsive. This makes the newsletter more easily readable on smartphones and other mobile devices. Anybody can now subscribe to it. The signup is possible via a button on the SCCIJ's homepage. The LinkedIn discussion group increased by more than half to 181 members. In 2017 the committee will strive to provide more content in Japanese and to increase the SCCIJ's social media presence.

SCCIJ President Mr. Michael Mroczek thanks outgoing SCCIJ Vice-President Mr. Markus Gfeller (click to enlarge)

SCCIJ President Mr. Michael Mroczek thanks outgoing SCCIJ Vice-President Mr. Markus Gfeller (click to enlarge)

Report of Kanto and Kansai Events Committee 

Mr. Markus Gfeller, SCCIJ Vice-President Kanto and Head of the Kanto Events Committee, reported 13 luncheons with a total of 745 participants (2015: 677) and speakers like Ms. Aiko Shimajiri (Minister in charge of Cool Japan strategy); Mr. Urs Bucher (outgoing Ambassador of Switzerland in Japan), Mr. Tadateru Konoe (President of the International Federation of Red Cross Societies); Mr. Renzo Simoni (CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard AG), Ms. Mamiko Eda (President of Intel Japan) and Ms. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch (Swiss State Secretary & Director of SECO). There were two events at the residence of the Swiss ambassador, three Swiss Young Professionals events, two Swiss' Experiences events, two corporate events, twelve joint events with other chambers, two joint events with the Swiss Club Tokyo and one with the Japan Swiss Society. The SCCIJ also organized its first Shinnenkai.   

Mr. Dieter Sommerhalder, SCCIJ Vice-President Kansai and Head of the Kansai Events Committee, reviewed the annual events in the Kansai region. About 25 Swiss young professionals met in Osaka in March. Victorinox welcomed members and guests of the SCCIJ in their Grand Front Osaka store in June. The annual excursion led to Kunijima Water Purification Plant of Osaka Waterworks Bureau in October. 

Report of the Relationship Management Committee

Mr. Fabien Clerc, Head of the Relationship Management Committee, reported a net increase of thirteen members from 2015 to 2016, among them nine regular members. Thus, the upward trend since 2009 continued for the eighth year. The average number of luncheon attendees went up from 53 in 2015 to 57 in 2016. 57 percent of the SCCIJ membership participated in events.

In 2017 the SCCIJ will continue to provide best value to its members with added-value events (luncheons, networking etc.), useful information (e-newsletters, website etc.) and personal communication (SNS etc.). The committee also aims to expand membership by proactive contacts to target segments like Japanese or Asian companies, direct recommendations from members and by using the private network of executive committee members and the support and engagement of the SCCIJ secretariat.

Mr. Fabien Clerc took the position of SCCIJ Vice President Kanto (click to enlarge)

Mr. Fabien Clerc took the position of SCCIJ Vice President Kanto (click to enlarge)

Smooth Elections 

Four present executive committee members - Mr. Dieter Sommerhalder, Mr. Fabien Clerc, Mr. Jean-Jacques Makoto Jaccard and Ms. Melanie Kohli - were re-elected as members of the board by the AGM. Not subject to re-election were Mr. Michael Mroczek, Mr. Takayuki Kawashima, Mr. Stefan Hofer and Ms. Mamiko Tanaka. Mr. Michael Mroczek was confirmed by the new executive committee as its president. Mr. Fabien Clerc followed Mr. Markus Gfeller as SCCIJ Vice-President Kanto. Mr. Gfeller resigned from the board after completing the maximum four-year term. The AGM voted for Mr. Masao (Mark) Torii to take his place in the executive committee.

Mr. Torii became the President and Representative Director of Novartis Holding Japan in July 2016. He started his career with Nippon Roche in 1971 and worked in executive positions for Rhone-Poulenc Roller, Schering-Plough and Boehringer Ingelheim Japan. "I would like to contribute to making the SCCIJ an even more attractive organization and enhance the visibility of Switzerland in Japan", Mr. Torii said at the AGM before the vote.


SCCIJ President Mr. Michael Mroczek welcomes new SCCIJ board member Mr. Masao (Mark) Torii (click to enlarge)

SCCIJ President Mr. Michael Mroczek welcomes new SCCIJ board member Mr. Masao (Mark) Torii (click to enlarge)

Contribution to Scholarship Fund

The AGM voted to double the SCCIJ contribution to the Scholarship Fund of the Swiss-Japan Chamber of Commerce (SJCC) in Zurich for this year to CHF 20,000. This will be the second contribution of the SCCIJ to the fund after last year's donation of CHF 10,000. The amount is not fixed for the future but only valid for 2017.

The Chairman of the fund, Mr. Martin Stricker, a former SCCIJ President now residing in Switzerland, explained at the AGM the benefits and the value of the fund for Japan-Swiss business relations and the SCCIJ membership. In the fund's 28-year-old history, 225 scholarships were awarded with a value of CHF 2.8 million. The money is spent only on the scholarships and not on the overhead. As a consequence, Mr. Stricker had come on private expenses to Japan to participate in the AGM.  

"We want to build the bridge builders of tomorrow", Mr. Stricker said. "My personal hope is that the SCCIJ continues and gets even more involved in the fund because there are so many synergies between the two chambers", he concluded his engaging speech for a higher SCCIJ contribution. Two of the current recipients of the scholarship were present at the AGM and briefly introduced themselves.

After learning Japanese for six months at a school of their choice, one recipient already works as an intern for the Science & Technology Office at the Embassy of Switzerland and the other will start his traineeship at GC Corporation, a Japanese sponsor of the scholarship fund with strong connections to Switzerland.    

 

Text and photos: Martin Fritz for SCCIJ      

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