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Profile of BMC
Ⅰ. Aim
According to its constitution, the aim of the BMC is to “contribute to establishing and maintaining sound and stable trade relations between the UK and Japan.”
Ⅱ. Activities
1. Activities for trade promotion
Since it was first set up in 1973, the BMC has been implementing various projects in order to promote imports from the UK as well as for Japanese industries wishing to set up operations in the UK. In 1988, the British Government started a campaign to promote exports to Japan called ‘Opportunity Japan’. The original aim of the campaign still continues today but under different slogans. In response to this export promotion campaign by the UK government, the BMC established a task force in 1988 (called Import Promotion Committee in 1998 and then the Trade Promotion Committee in 2003) to support the following activities:
(1)
Trade fairs and exhibitions, market surveys, publications
(2)
Sending and hosting trade missions and product-related missions to and from the UK
(3)
Promoting investment between the UK and Japan; promoting Anglo-Japanese industrial cooperation, sometimes also in third country markets
(4)
Forums and seminars about the Japanese market; arranging speakers for such meetings; providing information and advice
The expenses incurred for these activities are mainly subsidized by membership fees for the Trade Promotion Committee. For events considered to be especially meeting the target aims of the BMC, subsidies were provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and are currently by a few numbers of Foundations.
2. Activities promoting Anglo-Japanese partnerships and friendships among member companies
In order to promote partnerships between the two countries, the BMC holds the following events with the support of the British Embassy in Japan, as well as working its network to bring about other events for members:
(1)
New Year party
A New Year party is held in end-January attended by approximately 150 members and guests.
(2)
Trade Promotion Committee meetings
The meetings are held annually in the middle of April to discuss and decide which projects of the British Embassy are to be supported by BMC.
(3)
Annual meeting and regular meeting at the British Embassy
The BMC annual meeting and regular meeting in June are held in the New Hall of the British Embassy, with reception for members and Embassy staff afterwards.
(4)
Anglo-Japanese business partnership seminars hosted jointly by the British Embassy in Japan and the BMC
Since 1999 there have been fourteen annual seminars held jointly with the British Embassy at the British Hills (a British-style lodging and events hall in Fukushima). Since 2014 seminars are held in Tokyo for convenience of guests.
(5)
Christmas party at English Pub HUB
At every year end, a party is held with approximately 70 people attending.
Ⅲ. Its History
In 1973, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (then known as the Ministry of International Trade and Industry) sent the first mission group to the UK to promote imports. The BMC was then set up as a private organization by members of the mission group. Taiichiro Matsuo, leader of the mission group, became Chairman, and remained in the position for 25 years. In July 1998, Shinroku Morohashi, Senior Corporate Advisor to Mitsubishi Corporation, became the new chairman until Shigeji Ueshima, Counselor to Mitsui & Co., Ltd., took over in June 2006.Kenji Miyahara, Honorary Adviser to Sumitomo Corporation, was Chairman since June 2011. In June 2015 Teruo Asada, Chairman of the Board of Marubeni Corporation became 5th Chairman of BMC.

The British government first started promoting imports to Japan in 1988 with its Opportunity Japan campaign, followed by Priority Japan in April 1991, which ended successfully in March 1994. The Action Japan campaign then began in April 1994, continuing as New Action Japan after April 1998. The campaign changed its name to Trade Partners UK in May 2000, bringing all imports -promotion campaigns targeting foreign countries under one slogan. Preceding this in 1999, the British government had set up British Trade International. This merged in 2003 with the Investment Sector to become UK Trade & Investment.
GREAT 2012 Campaign has begun since 2012, which is to let people know strength of UK in various fields using such logo as “Fashion is GREAT Britain” “Make it in GREAT Britain” and “Innovation is GREAT ” etc. and to promote expansion of business opportunity. BMC is collaborating in this campaign.
Ⅳ. Recent activities
The BMC conducted the following financial support to the projects by the British Embassy in fiscal year 2020 (April 2020-March 2021) :
(1)
Preparation of AI Report
In 2018, Cambridge Consultants was outsourced to create a list of UK companies with advanced AI technology, and the report has been updated for the first time in two years. In the first edition, 80 companies were selected, but about 30 companies were withdrawn or acquired in two years. On the other hand, more than 90 companies have been newly added, and 172 companies with innovative AI technology have been selected. The outline of the companies and results of analysis are shown in this report. Completed in September 2020, the report was distributed at related events organized by the British Embassy in Tokyo. It is also available to members on the BMC members-only website.
Financially supported by Trade Promotion Committee.
(2)
22nd Japan-UK Business Partnership seminar in October, 2020
BMC hosted the seminar entitled “The Post-Coronavirus Economic Recovery Outlook・Creative Technology” on 13 October 2020.
For more information, see BMC News.
https://british-mc.com/en/news_20_10_13.html
The BMC covered the cost of the venue. The BMC also created a members-only website and uploaded the videos later so that members who could not attend on the event could watch them.
Financially supported by Trade Promotion Committee.
(3)
UK Sports Economy and Creative Technology Promotion Project for Japan
1)Webinar to introduce the Sport Economy
A British Embassy session was held in a webinar format at SPORTS BUSINESS JAPAN 2020. The main theme was "Risk Management in Sports Events" and included presentations on 'Risk Management with DX', 'Stadium Management and Maximising Commercial Opportunities in a New Normal World' and 'Risk Management and Insurance in Sports Business'. The event was streamed live on 7 October 2020 and on-demand until the end of the month, reaching a total of 200 participants (123 organisations) from a wide range of sectors including sports organisations, stadium operators, local authorities and universities.
Financially supported by ITIC.
2)AI Forum
The event was part of a series of events called "Creative Tech GREAT Season". Due to the influence of the COVID19, the AI Forum was replaced by a webinar named Nikkei AISUM, and an advertisement in the Nikkei Biz Gate to make the event well known further and raise awareness of AI companies in the UK. The joint session by the British Embassy and Cambridge Consultants at the Nikkei AISUM on 22 October 2020 was entitled "Best Practices for UK-Japan Collaboration in AI Business Success" and included the results of a survey of Japanese and UK companies conducted prior to the event, as well as a summary of discussions at a separate roundtable.
The article was advertised in Nikkei Biz Gate on 27 November 2020 under the titles (article 1) " UK start-ups attracting the attention of Japanese companies" and (article 2) "Data science and AI for social good".
Financially supported by ITIC.
(4)
Export to Japan - CRM and Analytics Update
BMC supported the improvement of Export to Japan website. 1) Integrate a “live chat” function (Zoho Sales IQ) to allow site visitors to chat with our representatives in real time, 2) Develop the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to divide our 10,000 contact database into sectors (Zoho CRM), 3) Set up “conversion tracking” in Google Analytics Live Chat increases business opportunities and the conversion rate has increased from 0.23% to around 0.33%, or 3.3 contacts for every 1000 site visitors. By understanding the conversion rates of each promotion channel through “conversion tracking”, the effectiveness of paid activity has been understood. BMC supported some of the outsourcing costs to improve these functions.
Financially supported by Trade Promotion Committee.
(5)
UK Pavilion at Foodex Japan 2021
UK Pavilion had been exhibited at Foodex Japan 2021 held at Makuhari Messe from March 9th to 12th, 2021. Twenty-four companies, including 12 new companies, from the fields of cheese, seafood, gin, meat and English sparkling wine, participated. Three regions were represented on the UK stand, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Wales having its own stand next to it. For those companies and organisations unable to visit, there was also a virtual exhibition on the web, open until 8 October 2021, where matchmaking has been possible. The UK stand attracted 400 visitors from major GMS, hotel chains and importers.
Financially supported by Trade Promotion Committee.
V. Annual membership fee
1. Ordinary membership: 150,000 yen
2. Trade Promotion Committee membership: 500,000 yen extra

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