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Tuesday, 27 December 2016 12:52

First Year as SCCJ Chairman

Written by  SCCJ

SCCJ has to reflect the globalization in order to properly function

When Östergren, a Japanese veteran who has worked in or with Japan since the 80s, became the chamber’s chairman, he noted that Swedish companies in Japan have changed quite a bit since his early days in the country. The Japanese subsidiaries used to have mainly Swedish people at the top of the organisation, but these days they can be Swedish or Japanese or of almost any other nationality. “Business has become a lot more global in the last 30 years, and it is a positive development; great talent is everywhere, and it would be wrong not to use it”, he says. And as the world of business changes, companies and, indeed, chambers of commerce and industry have to reflect that change in order to properly function. Therefore, the chamber recently voted to change the Articles of Association to no longer stipulate a minimum number of Swedish board directors.

 Image result for swedish corporations globalization 

(Picture source: https://nisthakafle.wordpress.com)

The chamber has changed in many ways since it was established almost 25 years ago. It used to be that the main reason for the existence of the chamber was to welcome and educate Swedish businesspeople who were sent over to head the Japanese subsidiary of a Swedish company. They were mostly people with little or no experience of Japanese business, or any aspect of life in Japan for that matter, so there was a great need for knowledge sharing and social networking. Today, Japan is not the uncharted territory it used to be. A lot more people know a lot more about the country and how to conduct business here, and the chamber has changed accordingly. From an inward-looking approach, the chamber’s activities are now much more outward-looking. There is still a lot of emphasis on knowledge sharing, but today there’s a focus on teaching Swedish business culture to the Japanese staff of Swedish subsidiaries. Networking is immensely important and the focus is on enhancing both the business and the social aspects with business lunches and company visits as well as social events where members can get to know each other in a friendly atmosphere.

Even though the chamber is more international than ever before, there is still a basic core of “Swedishness” that has to be nurtured, says Östergren. One of the most popular events of the year was a seminar with a focus on Human Resources, where Johan Lundén from Scania talked about how the “Sweden brand” could be successfully utilised to attract Japanese talent. “This was a doubly successful event, since we noticed that it resulted in spontaneous networking between the HR departments of several chamber member companies. This is clearly an effect we want to see more of with future activities”.

Swedish brands, avatars on Twitter - by www.kullin.net

(Picture source: http://www.kullin.net/)

The “Sweden brand” is also being amplified through many of the social events that are available not only to member companies’ staff, but also to family and friends. The Swedish National Day celebration and the Christmas Bazaar are the most successful such events, where tickets are quickly sold out. These events are also proof of how well the Team Sweden effort has played out. The embassy offices, together with the SCCJ, are working well together, and the collective hard work is really paying off with an ever-increasing recognition of the “Sweden brand”.

During the year, the chamber has invited six new member companies - Profoto, Biogaia, Swep, Gplus Media, Space Design and UPI - a mix of products and services and companies originating in both Sweden and Japan. “It is a good sign that we attract not only old and large manufacturers, but also small and very dynamic companies. They will help the chamber to stay nimble and innovative”, Östergren says.

As for the future, things are looking well. The chamber is very much focused on creating value for its members and a new “Roadmap Committee” has been established with the mission to plan for the chamber to work with its members to stay ahead of the times and be a proactive forum in order to help all members increase their output in Japan.

The Future

In the near future, Mr Östergren would like to remind us all that the chamber has several important events lined up: The New Year’s party on January 12th, the Teambuilding Bowling in February and, of course, the Sakura Party on the 4th of April.

Our chairman ends our interview by extending his heartfelt thanks to ambassador Robach and the whole Team Sweden as well as all members of the chamber. “I’m looking very much forward to another rewarding year with the chamber!”

Team Sweden

Heads of Team Sweden organisations from left to right:

Niklas Kviselius (Growth Analysis), Cecilia Leiram (Business Sweden), Ambassador Magnus Robach, Thomas Östergren (SCCJ), Hans Rhodiner (STCC)








SCCJ自体、25年前の設立時に比べると様々な変化を遂げています。当初は日本支社を統括するために派遣されてきたスウェーデン人を迎え入れる日本側の窓口のような存在でした。 彼らのほとんどは日本のビジネス作法や新天地での生活のノウハウさえも乏しい状態でしたので、その点を補うソーシャルネットワーキングやナレッジシェアリングには重要な意義がありました。しかし、日本は今や、以前のような未開の地ではなくなり、多くの人々がビジネスや生活面でさほど不自由なく過ごせるようになってきました。SCCJもまたその状況に合わせて以前は主に内輪向けだった活動から外部とのつながりも重要視するようになりました。また、ナレッジシェアリングの点では、スウェーデンビジネスに関わる日本人に対してスウェーデンのビジネス文化を発信していくというアプローチをとるようになりました。ネットワーキングはいつの時代でも重要であり、今でもビジネスランチや企業訪問、ソーシャルイベントを通じてメンバー同士の交流の場は必要とされています。






この1年でSCCJには新たに6社が入会しました:Profoto(写真・映像撮影機器)、Biogaia(バイオテクノロジー)、Swep(産業用アプリケーション)、Gplus Media(マーケティング)、Space Design(インテリア)、UPI(アウトドア商品)。スウェーデンと日本の多岐にわたる業界からの入会は「SCCJの明敏で革新的な活動を支えてくれる」としてオスタグレン氏は歓迎しています。


今後の展望としては、「Roadmap Committee」の新設を通して、会員へより付加価値のある活動の展開を模索しています。会員企業と共に先を見据えた積極的な活動を企画していく予定です。







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