A conversation with CHANEL Japan CEO, Guillermo Gutierrez

A conversation with CHANEL Japan CEO, Guillermo Gutierrez

Our first in person seminar since February, “A conversation with CHANEL Japan CEO, Guillermo Gutierrez” was held on 23 October.

As a Spanish national having lived in Japan for many years and working for a large international corporation, Guillermo shared his wealth of experience with the participants from both Spanish and French Chamber of Commerce.

After the talk session, people enjoyed mingling with other guests including with Guillermo himself.

Perspectivas España – Japón 2021

Perspectivas España – Japón 2021

Muchas gracias a Jorge Toledo, Embajador de España en Japón, a Fernando Hernández, Consejero Económico y Comercial de la Embajada de España en Japón y a Guillermo Gutierrez, Presidente de la (SpCCJ) Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan por compartir con nuestros miembros su visión sobre el estado y el futuro de las relaciones politicas, económicas y empresariales en el panel Perspectivas España – Japon.

Jorge Calvo, PhD, ha sido un placer tenerte como moderador del evento. Muchísimas gracias por aceptar nuestra propuesta.

Extraordinary Meeting of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce

Extraordinary Meeting of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce

  • Las empresas de la Cámara de España constatan la coincidencia en el diagnóstico de la situación y piden que se aborden las soluciones necesarias desde el consenso.
  • Los Presidentes de BBVA, Banco Santander, HP, Iberdrola, Indra y Telefónica comparten con la Vicepresidenta del Gobierno sus propuestas de actuación ante la crisis económica.

Madrid, 03/09/20.- La vicepresidenta tercera del Gobierno y ministra de Asuntos Económicos y Transformación Digital, Nadia Calviño, ha apelado a la unidad de acción frente a la crisis económica y social derivada de la pandemia de la COVID-19. “El diagnóstico de la situación es compartido, como también las recetas para hacerle frente. Es más lo que une a la sociedad española que lo que le separa y eso debe reflejarse también en la política. Es el momento de la unidad, de arrimar el hombro”, ha afirmado la Vicepresidenta del Gobierno.

Durante su intervención en el Pleno Extraordinario de la Cámara de Comercio de España, Calviño ha subrayado el papel fundamental que deben jugar las Cámaras de Comercio – a las que ha pedido colaboración en esta etapa de reconstrucción- en el proceso de transformación digital y en la internacionalización, particularmente de las pymes “La transformación digital de las pequeñas y medianas empresas constituye la más importante reforma estructural  que tenemos por delante y tenemos que acelerarla e intensificarla de manera exponencial”, ha subrayado Calviño.

La transición digital, junto a la transición ecológica, la formación y la internacionalización han sido algunas de las cuestiones que han centrado el debate sobre propuestas de actuación ante la crisis económica y los principales desafíos y prioridades que deben plantearse en la etapa de reconstrucción, protagonizado por los Presidentes de BBVA, Banco Santander, HP, Iberdrola, Indra y Telefónica.

Las empresas participantes han coincidido tanto en el diagnóstico, como en la apelación a la necesaria unidad de acción para superar la crisis.

Así, la presidenta de Banco Santander, Ana Botín, ha afirmado que “hay un gran consenso sobre los principios en los que debe sustentarse la recuperación: que el futuro está en Europa y que queremos una economía más sostenible, inclusiva, digital y feminista. A partir de aquí lo que hay que debatir es cómo se ejecuta la reconstrucción y, en mi opinión, debe basarse en cuatro aspectos. Que los proyectos tengan un efecto multiplicador, que estén apoyados sobre el liderazgo empresarial, la capilaridad de las ayudas y la gobernanza para que haya responsabilidad”.

Otro aspecto coincidente en las intervenciones de los distintos ponentes ha sido la necesidad de transformar esta crisis en una oportunidad para cambiar el modelo económico español.

Ignacio Sánchez Galán, presidente de Iberdrola, ha incidido en la transición ecológica. “La inversión en la economía verde no tiene solo que ver con energía, sino que presenta grandes ventajas estructurales por su carácter transversal: mejora la competitividad económica de nuestro país, nuestra balanza de pagos y nuestra autonomía energética; reduce nuestras emisiones y nuestra contaminación, e impulsa la electrificación de usos energéticos con un importante efecto tractor en sectores como la climatización o el transporte”, ha asegurado Galán.

Por su parte, el presidente de Indra, Fernando Abril-Martorell, ha puesto el acento en la necesidad de la economía española de ganar en competitividad y mejorar su productividad: “La tecnología le da la oportunidad a España de hacer un ‘reset’ industrial y relocalizar capacidades”, ha aseverado.

La transición digital ha ocupado una buena parte del diálogo entre las empresas, coincidentes también en cómo la digitalización ha cobrado especial relevancia en la excepcional situación que estamos viviendo.

El presidente de Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, ha puesto de manifiesto el liderazgo que ejerce España entre las infraestructuras digitales de toda Europa, con la red más extensa de fibra óptica y el reciente lanzamiento del 5G, que Telefónica llevará al 75 por ciento de la población este mismo año. Ha recalcado que “hoy es más necesario que nunca imaginar cómo va a ser la nueva sociedad digital y coger lo mejor. Por ello, en julio presentamos nuestro Pacto Digital, para anticiparnos a la transición digital y liderarla”. 

El Presidente de BBVA, Carlos Torres Vila, ha prestado especial atención a la importancia de la digitalización para las pymes: “El papel de los bancos en la crisis ha sido clave, amplificando el efecto del dinero público. En el medio-largo plazo, tenemos que abrazar de una manera acelerada el cambio hacia un modelo productivo basado en las nuevas tecnologías y en el uso eficiente de los datos. La digitalización facilita a las pymes la eficiencia en los procesos productivos. Por ejemplo, la computación en la nube les abre un mundo nuevo. Tenemos que trabajar en montar a las pymes en esa ola, combinando reformas e inversión”.

Por su parte, la Presidenta de HP para España, Portugal, Francia e Italia, Helena Herrero, ha enfatizado la incidencia de la digitalización en la internacionalización. “La globalización es imparable pero tras la pandemia va a ser diferente. Más digital, más sostenible y más centrada en las personas”, ha dicho Herrero, quien ha propuesto que “como país tenemos que luchar por tener y atraer centros estratégicos con impacto global, apostar por el talento y crear ecosistemas digitales, trabajando de la mano pymes y multinacionales”.

El papel de las Cámaras de Comercio

El presidente de la Cámara de España, José Luis Bonet, ha reiterado la disposición de las empresas a colaborar con los poderes públicos en la salida de la crisis y el papel fundamental que debe desempeñar la Cámara de España y la red cameral, que por su capilaridad es un instrumento fundamental del Gobierno para que las ayudas europeas lleguen al conjunto del tejido productivo. “Hemos de hacer frente a la situación con decisión, coraje, determinación y visión de futuro, sin dejar a nadie atrás, velando por las personas, por supuesto, pero también por las empresas que son la pieza clave para la recuperación, la creación de empleo y el crecimiento de la economía”, ha afirmado Bonet.

En el mismo sentido se ha manifestado el presidente de la Cámara de Valencia y del Consejo de Cámaras de la Comunidad Valenciana, José Vicente Morata, que ha incidido en que la capilaridad y cercanía al tejido productivo del sistema cameral “necesarias para trasladar las políticas públicas al ámbito privado. Y, además, de forma rápida y eficaz, que es precisamente lo que se requiere en la situación actual”.

Por su parte el presidente de la Cámara de Granada, Gerardo Cuerva, ha insistido en la necesidad de contar con el conjunto de la sociedad para llevar a cabo las reformas necesarias y muy particularmente en lo que se refiere a la digitalización. “Si queremos triunfar en el proceso de transición digital, hay que acordarse de las personas”, ha afirmado.

Original: https://www.camara.es/pleno-extraordinario-camara-espana-nadia-calvino

Paralliance webinar: Paralympics – one year to go!

Paralliance webinar: Paralympics – one year to go!

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Almost 120 guests and members of the Paralliance, an up-coming coalition of 20 chambers of commerce in Japan in support of diversity and inclusion, have celebrated the one-year countdown to the Paralympic Games by participating in a webinar presented by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ). On the occasion of passing this milestone, Mr. Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and Mr. Yasushi Yamawaki, Tokyo 2020 Vice President and IPC Governing Board member, talked about the preparations and prospects for the Paralympics in the summer of 2021. Mr. Craig Spence, IPC Chief Brand & Communications Officer, and BCCJ Vice President Ms. Alison Beale moderated the webinar.

Paralliance webinar: Paralympics – one year to go!
The logo of the up-coming coalition of 20 Chambers of Commerce in Japan in support of diversity and inclusion.

“Right decision was taken”

IPC President Parsons joined the webinar from his home country Brazil and started by stating his regret about not being in Japan now. “Today, we would have been at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo to open the Paralympic Games,” he said. “But we were not able to offer a safe environment to our athletes.” Hence, the postponement was the right decision, although most of the IPC staff was first shocked and then “kind of frustrated”. “They felt they had spent seven years in vain to construct the most complicated jigsaw puzzle for delivering the best games ever,” he recounted the feelings on March 24 when the decision was taken.

After this review, Mr. Parsons voiced his hope that the coronavirus will be under control in one year. “In 365 days, we will be celebrating and it will become a special moment for humanity”, he exclaimed. Until then, a lot of work has to be done again, though. The Japanese IPC board member Mr. Yamawaki joined the conversation from Tokyo and reported that more than 1,000 contracts had to be renegotiated one by one to minimize the cost for each party. “It was like starting from zero again,” he said. IPC President Parsons chipped in and mentioned the IPC’s 300 contracts. “We needed to balance our cash flow because we have to support 182 National Paralympic Committees and the staff of our headquarters in Germany.

Scaled-down games

One consequence of the new situation: “We will reduce the scale of the game, even if a vaccine is found until then,” the IPC president announced. The safety and well-being of the athletes have to be ensured, but everything else could be scaled down. “We are cutting everything that is not fundamental, there will be no luxuries, and all this will apply also to the future games,” he promised. But the top official of the Paralympic Games also expressed his optimism that there will be no further delay. “We need to work as if the games are going ahead, and I have no doubts that the postponed games will still be special.”

Moderator Craig Spence asked the two speakers about the legacy of the postponed Tokyo Paralympics. Mr. Yamawaki answered from Tokyo that the Games may mark the moment that Covid-19 is overcome. Also, the awareness in Japan for Para sports would have risen dramatically. Almost half of the population could now recognize a single Para sport athlete. Also, 99% of all train stations have been rebuilt for the needs of people with disabilities. “The children in 36,000 primary and secondary schools have learned about an inclusive society during the last four years,” Mr. Yamawaki told the webinar viewers. “They will become the future leaders in creating an inclusive society in Japan.” Usually, parents teach children, but the process has been reversed: Children would now teach their parents about inclusion. “This will be one of the biggest legacies of these games and may have the largest impact on attitudes towards people with disabilities,” the IPC official stated.

Essential business support

Reacting to a question by the moderator, the IPC president talked about the support the Paralympic Games have received from the business community. “In Japan, this environment has been amazing,” he stated. For example, two airlines and two financial groups would be sponsoring the Paralympics at the same time. “What do we want to achieve? We want to change the world,” he added. “Ten days of Para sports will become the catalyst to bring inclusion to Japanese society.” Mr. Parsons pointed to the “Inclusion Summit” as a platform for business leaders to discuss the acceptance of disability into the corporate world.

The webinar viewers heard about the dream of the Paralympics’ founder – that every disabled person in the world could become a taxpayer. “Hence, we need to provide more opportunities and change the mindset of people,” the IPC president said. During the Q&A session, he gave the following advice to the foreign business community in Japan: “Get involved, employ more people with disability, and think how your business can become more inclusive,” he said. “For example, if you own a restaurant, put in a ramp, or do anything to make the life of a person with a disability easier.”

Biographies of the speakers

Andrew Parsons has been President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body, since September 2017. Upon election, Andrew made strengthening the IPC’s relationship with the IOC a top priority. In October 2018 Andrew was elected an IOC member. He also represents the IPC in the IOC Coordination Commissions for Tokyo 2020 and LA 2028. Andrew is also a member of the IOC Marketing Commission and sits on the Board of Directors for the Olympic Channel and on the WADA Foundation Board.

Yasushi Yamawaki has been a board member of the International Paralympic Committee since 2013 and a Vice President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games since 2014. He is also the Chairman of the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center (2015-present), a councilor at the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) (2015-present) During his professional career, Mr. Yamawaki worked at Nippon Yusen (NYK Line) and rose to become the executive Vice-Chairman from 2008 to 2011).

Text: Martin Fritz for SCCIJ

Visit Ishigaki with Yoitabi Travel

Visit Ishigaki with Yoitabi Travel

While keeping an eye on the numbers and standing firm on the safety measures and recommendations, the Japanese Government has finally started the reactivation of the travel and hospitality industry.

Following this line, we have really great news for all the beach lovers. Our Corporate Member Yoitabi Travel has launched a special package to visit one of the most beautiful islands of the Okinawa archipelago, Ishigaki Island.

Did you know that Tripadvisor named Ishigaki Island the world’s hottest spot back in 2018? Ishigakijima is well-known for its surrounding coral reefs, their famed manta rays and some of the most beautiful sunsets of Japan.

If you would like to know more details about this package, do not hesitate to contact Yoitabi Travel through their contact email: 

info@yoitabitravel.com

Package Details

Duration: 4 days. 3 nights
Economy Flight Tickets 
Accommodation: 5* Hotel (breakfast included)
Private transfers from/to the airport
Leisure Activities: Island Hoping, Snorkeling Tour, Sunset BBQ cruise…  

OCTOBER
From ¥121,500 /PAX (995€ /Pax)  

SEPTEMBER
From ¥135,200 /PAX (1,095€ /Pax)  

AUGUST
From ¥166,200 /PAX (1,345€ /Pax)  

At Yoitabi Travel they are committed to create alternative, individualized and responsible travel experiences, so do not hesitate to contact them regarding Ishigaki package but also if you would like to design your own personalized experience. 

How can the auto industry give users what they want in the post-COVID-19 world?

How can the auto industry give users what they want in the post-COVID-19 world?

How can the auto industry give users what they want in the post-COVID-19 world?

In vast swathes of the world, most movement has been halted. Once people are able to travel once again, will they go back to their old ways of moving around?
Unlikely.
In attempting to predict a likely future state for the automotive industry specifically, to me one thing is clear: this crisis will trigger a shift in consumer preferences.
I predict two main—but somewhat opposing—shifts.

Firstly, more people will prefer to use a car rather than public transport.
When people will once again be able to travel, it is fair to assume that many will be reticent to use public transport that is packed with people, in close proximity, touching dirty surfaces. Given the choice, would you be willing to do that on a daily basis to get to work? Or exposing your family to that?
Another factor to remember is that falling oil prices may make using a car more attractive, at least from an economic perspective… if and when the fall in oil prices are translated to the prices consumers pay at the pumps.

The second shift is that less people will want—or be able—to buy a car.
While the value of having your own personal space is clear, the economic crisis means that people are not going to be able to afford a car. It is obvious that the immediate macro-economic impact of the crisis has led to high unemployment, which will directly translate into less demand for new cars.
Even for those people whose work has not been affected, many will have become accustomed to teleworking, which will likely become far more prevalent even once the crisis is over. This will mean that fewer people will need to commute, and those that do will do so less often, translating into less willingness to pay for an expensive/new car.

And what about the newfound, widespread focus on sustainability? This year’s crises—including the Australian bushfires and COVID-19—have brought people highly visible, immediate, and tangible effects of what is being characterised as a lack of respect for and acknowledgement of the limits of the environment. I predict that this will also have a downward effect on demand for new, privately owned cars. Yes, fuel prices might fall, but increasing fuel consumption and buying and throwing away cars are not going to be seen as part of the answer.

Given the reduction in willingness to use public transport and the reduction in ability/willingness to buy a new car, my prediction is that there will be a surge in demand for shared (and preferably electric) vehicles.

In the short term, this will be a boon for electric shared car service providers—such as Ferrovial’s Zity, VW’s WeShare, and Daimler/BMW joint venture SHARE NOW—but there are two key pain points that these services do not address:

  • Peace of mind around the service: How will the service provider guarantee that the in-car environment—particularly the steering wheel, touchscreens, etc.—will not be contaminated.
  • Fitness for purpose of the vehicle: Given that these vehicles were designed first and foremost for the private ownership market, do the cars do the jobs that car sharers want from them? What could they do better if they were built, first and foremost, for sharing?

I believe that both of these challenges strike at the heart of automakers’ traditional weaknesses, but could be sources of opportunity.

Designing a mobility service for the post-COVID-19 world
It is no secret that automakers’ traditional strengths and core competencies in manufacturing have caused them to lag behind in how to successfully design for, and capture value from, Mobility as a Service, relying instead on a traditional waterfall approach beginning with the vehicle and considering the service a mere add-on.

How much more powerful would it be if an automaker really looked at the shifts in consumer behaviour, and designed new mobility solutions based on consumer pains and jobs to be done focused on the service, with the form of the vehicle following the function required from it?

We have seen mobility service providers quickly roll out minimum viable solutions to the coronavirus challenge: for example, Didi Chuxing (China’s answer to Uber) started sticking up protective plastic dividers between drivers and passengers in its cars, setting up 46 shield installation points and 9 disinfection stations around Beijing. But this was in response to taxi drivers taking matters into their own hands and making makeshift barriers themselves, or even wearing hazmat suits.

However, these are temporary solutions that illustrate a real problem.

What could service providers—automakers, ride hailing companies and car sharing companies alike—do to ensure not only that vehicles are safe, but that people feel safe?

To successfully address consumers’ concerns, companies must firstly make sure that they understand deeply what consumers care about and secondly, make service design a priority.

Designing a vehicle for the post-COVID-19 world
Even if services are put in place to give users peace of mind around shared vehicles, the fact remains that these vehicles were never intended to be shared, and therefore are not built for purpose. Some upstart companies—Chinese/Swedish Lynk & Co springs to mind—have created cars with shareability in mind from the start, but we are still a long way from a car that has been designed with the needs of car sharing as being foremost.

While in the old days, interactions with the car and the use cases for a car were limited to those dictated by one owner, shared cars will be used by multiple people for multiple different purposes on any given day. How could one car adapt to all those needs? How should a car allow interaction with a multitude of different people?

What could a purpose-built shared car look like?
Answering these questions would require a deep study of customer needs and behaviours in different contexts, and an integrated approach that takes in service design and digital touch points, as well as the physical design of the car.
Any car company that does this could really build themselves a differentiated advantage. It is here that automakers could really shine, as Uber and other service providers cannot suddenly start building cars.

Driving forward

The world is going to look and feel rather different to the world we had before, and all companies must prepare to address new concerns and understand new consumer preferences.
An integrated design approach across service, digital, and physical, based on a deep understanding of customer’s needs and concerns, will be key to make the changes required to business for survival post-crisis.

Whoever answers the call to understand new consumer preferences and make a vehicle that is more adaptable, more sustainable, and with a service that feels secure, will surely find a place in the post-COVID-19 world.

What are you doing to prepare for this shift?

Maruan El Mahgiub
Director of Business Strategy at Mormedi

Security Threats in this New World

Security Threats in this New World

On 9 June the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan organised an online seminar inviting Gerard Salvador López, Senior Cloud Transformation Specialist at IBM to hear what is currently happening in the world of IT from a cyber-security perspective.

2020 will be remembered as the biggest remote working experiment in the history of mankind. With almost a third of the world’s population locked down, businesses and industries are trying to face this new reality asking their employees to work from home. Just as an example, Zoom is now worth more than the sum of the 5 biggest airlines in the US.

However, the larger the IT infrastructure is, the higher the likelihood of having vulnerabilities. Covid-19 has changed the security landscape enormously and, probably, forever. Just to give you an example, there has seen an increase of 14.000% in spam and phishing.

Passionate about the potential of technology and the risks of it, Gerard Salvador López has worked as a Cloud Strategist at Siemens in Belgium, lead the Engineers Without Borders NGO, hosted a TEDx event and wrote a book about the future of technology, “Too tech to fail”. He holds an Engineering Degree and a Master in Business Administration at Vlerick Business School in Belgium. For more information, you can take a look into his website: www.gerardsl.com.

Spanish Automotive Suppliers looking ahead after COVID-19 crisis

Spanish Automotive Suppliers looking ahead after COVID-19 crisis

Spanish Automotive Suppliers looking ahead after COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy and has caused an unprecedented lockdown in automotive manufacturing and retail activities in Europe and worldwide.

The automotive industry is one of the pillars of the Spanish economy. Over 1000 companies supply vehicle parts and components both to the OEMs located in Spain, Europe and worldwide and also for the aftermarket. Spain is the 2nd vehicle producer in Europe and the 9th worldwide and Spanish suppliers export c. 60% of their revenues: €20,754 million in 2019 out of €35,822 million turnover.

Restarting plants and logistical operations across the EU is a highly complex process, that relies on enough demand in the pipeline an on a functioning internal market, which is a difficult task when member states and regions are at different stages in the corona crisis.

Uncertainty and volatility of demand are considered the most critical issues for the automotive supply chain at the moment. The future perspective depends very much on consumer sentiment and demand picking up substantially. Experts have already discarded a fast recovery (V shape) and consider that a slow recovery (U shape) or a recession (L shape) are the possible scenarios. Recovery of 2019 figures is not expected until 2022 or even later, which has urged the Spanish Government to launch a recovery plan that includes measures both to promote demand and to support the industrial capabilities in the whole supply chain, with liquidity and labor measures and to support R&D and innovation.  

Demand stimulus through vehicle renewal schemes will kickstart economic recovery, support the relaunch of the sector and therefore safeguard jobs and investment capacity. The automotive industry can act as an engine of overall economic recovery thanks to its impact on other economic sectors and its multiplier effect.

Moreover, the crisis is accelerating the transformation of the sector. The whole automotive ecosystem must look ahead and maintain focus on the objectives towards a sustainable, safer, connected and automated mobility in a digital and carbon-neutral society. Besides the market and production recovery, investment in people and R&D remain essential and the companies need to reconsider their strategic plans in the short, medium and long terms, to become more resource efficient.

The Spanish components industry is leader in materials and production technologies, thanks to its extensive experience manufacturing parts for multiple models of vehicles from different industrial cultures, including the Japanese one. This long tradition is linked to its commitment to innovation. Spanish manufacturers of auto equipment and components invest 4.1% of their turnover in R&D&I; three times the average of Spanish industries. This means that products incorporate advanced technologies and meet the most demanding specifications.

Though equipment and components are largely “invisible”, automotive suppliers contribute to about 75% of the total value of a vehicle. And as cars are increasingly including sensors and electrical and electronic components, this figure will grow. The engineering and technology departments of the Spanish components industry are made up of professionals from technical schools and universities, recognized worldwide for training students to the highest academic standards.

Spanish suppliers are adapting to new times without compromising quality, safety and competitive prices. Their brands have achieved recognition and customers’ trust all around the world.

For Spain, and particularly for automotive suppliers, Japan is amongst the top ten export destinies, if we consider the EU as a whole, with an average increase of 5% in the last 5 years. The FTA signed recently between Japan and the EU will favour trade exchanges due to the harmonization of technical requirements.

Maria Luisa Soria
Public Affairs and Innovation Director in SERNAUTO (Spanish Association of Automotive Suppliers)

Remote interpreting – a chance for the internalization of SMEs

Remote interpreting – a chance for the internalization of SMEs

Remote interpreting – a chance for the internalization of SMEs

New normality is not here yet. For the last couple months, we all have started taking measures in order to adapt to this endlessly shifting reality. Citizens follow guidelines from the experts, while companies from different industries face different challenges. While having all the options on the table, every single factor must be scrutinized by companies in order to implement the right measures to continue being an active actor in the market.

The translation and interpretation industry, which my company belongs to, has not been impacted as badly as the hospitality or fashion industries. Although April was a rather sluggish month for most, right now translation is still alive and well. Since most freelance translators have been working remotely since the birth of the internet, not much has changed in this regard. Translation in fields such as audiovisual and literature especially is still in abundance, with streaming content or video games being almost the only option of entertainment currently available.


On the other hand, it is not an overstatement to say that interpretation or oral translation is in a lean period. Interpreters are qualified professionals with not only a great understanding of and fluency in the two or more languages that they work with, but also with an array of skills to convey a message and make communication between two or more parties possible, a key tool in the current world we live in. Although the practice of alternating with a speaker to translate what they are saying so that listeners can constantly follow along, commonly known as consecutive interpretation, is more common and requires virtually no equipment, for high-level meetings or seminars with many participants and not enough time to alternate between speaker and interpreter, simultaneous interpreting becomes necessary. When providing this service, an interpreter finds herself/himself actively listening to the speaker in order to understand what they are saying and then convey it in another language to the listeners on the spot. Similar to professional athletes, surgeons or chemists, the highest-level interpreters might be seen by some as extraordinary people with superpowers.

However, we are in an age where even the jobs of the most capable of people are in shambles. Here in Japan, we are seeing with our own eyes how many expats are being sent back to their home countries. All of the hard work spent developing skills and know-how is suddenly not a guarantee to have a stable life. It seems like the situation will not get better anytime soon and that there is no hope left in these trying times. Or is there?

Unexpectedly, this viral crisis might actually bring some great business opportunities both for companies with a presence in the international landscape and related professionals. Remote teleconference platforms, such as Zoom or Interprefy, as well as a large number of apps that are available to the public nowadays, provide premium services that enable one or several designated people to carry out simultaneous interpretation. Simple features enable participants in a videoconference to select a channel and listen to an interpreter in a language they understand, while muting the speaker speaking in another language. Despite the sometimes-imperfect sound quality and some basic technical difficulties that may arise, mainly due to internet connections, this is indeed not so different to a professional setting such as an international meeting, conference or seminar where soundproof booths, microphones, headphones and a PA system are required.

We do believe that with the new 5G networks that are being implemented, new tech will be developed, bringing new business opportunities and ways of carrying out such services. We can see great positive outcomes for companies whose activity crosses borders and for the professionals involved in the interpreting field. With shorter notice, companies will still be able to connect with a professional interpreter who provides a similar high-quality service for a significantly lower price. Moreover, this will help small and medium-sized enterprises have more of a chance to negotiate and build up a relationship with foreign companies and vendors. Likewise, interpreters can benefit from this new way of providing services by being able to manage their schedules better and have a better work-life balance.


The role of a translation and interpretation agency will remain the same: providing clients with the resources and solutions required to cater to their needs whenever necessary with the guarantee of a great outcome. However, agencies must continue to find out how to help and assist their clients in the most efficient way possible in this new era we are now entering.

Jorge Rubio
Sales Planning Division No.2
Operations Deparment at Franchir Co., Ltd.

Managing through the maelstrom

Managing through the maelstrom

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (SpCCJ) together with the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BLCCJ) in a joint effort invited on Friday 29 May, partners and directors of the Japan member firm of Deloitte to share with our members, their perspective related to doing business in Japan during the COVID-19 emergency.

Evolution of a crisis, relief measures, financial reporting matters, technology vision and vulnerabilities and command strategies were some of the topics covered in this interesting and useful sesion.

A big thank you to our 5 speakers from Deloitte and to all the attendants for joining us during lunch time!

The New Normal: How can we ensure a safe and secure environment? – Biological Passport: Access to a COVID-19 free society

The New Normal: How can we ensure a safe and secure environment? – Biological Passport: Access to a COVID-19 free society

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, our way of life has changed drastically. How can we tell places you visit or people you meet are COVID free? How will companies protect their employees and create a safe workplace?

Applying tests for every single person will be a must in the New Normal Society? Will we all have an easy access to these newly developed medical kits soon?

 On May 19, Andy Chang, APAC Regional Senior Director of our Corporate Member IGENOMIX offered us answers to these questions and many others in a webinar session specially organised for the SpCCJ Members.

Igenomix is a Spanish reproductive and fertility bio-tech company, which has been working on COVID-19 testing for private usage, by applying their know-how in genetics. Igenomix has recently launched the FDA-EUA approved COVID-19 RT-PCR Test and also introduced the Igenomix Biological Passport, a combination of new COVID-19 RT-PCR diagnostic test and a COVID-19 serological antibody test.

2nd Online CEO Round Table Discussion – Session 2

2nd Online CEO Round Table Discussion – Session 2

As the COVID-19 pandemic is globally expanding and having economic and financial impacts, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan organied the 2nd online CEO round table Discussion to create a platphone, where the CEOs & Managing Directors of our Corporate members could exchange information and ideas.

Atendants: Hernandez-Echevarria, Orto Group, Nishibi, Novajika, Mormedi.

This time we invited the Economic and Comercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Spain to Japan, Fernando Hernandez to the session.

2nd Online CEO Round Table Discussion – Session 1

2nd Online CEO Round Table Discussion – Session 1

As the COVID-19 pandemic is globally expanding and having economic and financial impacts, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan organied the 2nd online CEO round table Discussion to create a platphone, where the CEOs & Managing Directors of our Corporate members could exchange information and ideas.

Atendants: Amadeus, Chanel, Iberia, Gestamp, Grupo Antolin, Grupo Freixenet & J. Garcia Carrion.

This time we invited the Economic and Comercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Spain to Japan, Fernando Hernandez to the session.

Covid-19: emergency ruling under the rule of law and legal certainty

Covid-19: emergency ruling under the rule of law and legal certainty

Covid-19: emergency ruling under the rule of law and legal certainty

Among all legal issues that are emerging owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent health and sanitary crisis there are two of undeniable relevance. On one hand, governments sticking to the principle of the rule of law. The other one, more linked and oriented to the business and commercial environment, governments preserving legal certainty. Both are equally important in Japan and Spain. To begin with the rule of law, as Prime Minister Abe Shinzo pointed out in his welcome speech at the Opening Ceremony of the IBA Annual Conference held in Tokyo back in 2014:

Law represents the morals and norms of society, created through consensus among people who work together, and bound by their shared love of humanity. In all human societies there is always the law, and power is always the servant of the law”.

Declaring the state of alarm in Spain and the state of emergency in Japan (articles 116 and 41 of their Constitutions, respectively) cannot imply, by any means, giving governments carte blanche for adopting any kind of extraordinary measures in defiance of the law. The more extraordinary the use of powers is, the more the need to scrutinize executive actions not only politically -through parliamentary supervision- but specially by the judiciary. It is not only that acting extraordinarily does not mean acting above the law. It is precisely because governments are using unusual tools to impose exceptional measures which imply restrictions of fundamental rights, that the rule of law shall be more jealously preserved.

Balancing basic priorities such as human lives and health conditions on one hand, and fundamental personal, economic and social rights and liberties, on the other, shall be based on whether advantages outweigh the disadvantages and ultimately, be liable for those decisions. It is crucial that Governments have to respect the usual constitutional procedures, motivating their decisions. Measures shall be proportionate and limited in scope and time, although strong and strict enough to achieve its sanitary goals, even if constraints of rights and liberties come along as a consequence of the extraordinary measures.

Spanish and Japanese societies are bound by the variety of laws, regulations and executive orders but also by their sympathetic sense of responsibility. In Spain the “forcefully lockdown” imposes strict limitations of rights, that have been accompanied by coercive measures and consequent administrative and even criminal penalties. While in Japan, instead, a “soft lockdown” has been implemented, based on jishuku [自粛]. However, the precedent of issuing mandatory orders in 2011 to evacuate population from the catastrophic area affected by the Fukushima natural and nuclear disaster could be seen as ground for adopting harsher measures. Avoiding the temptation of the abuse of power while suffering a state of emergency situation is tantamount to saying that governments shall exercise extreme caution in submitting its actions to the rule of law, before, during and also after the emergency situation, including material responsibility of the state if and when legal requirements for such liability are met. We all need to be attentive.

In parallel, a new climate of legal certainty is needed for companies, public administrations and citizens alike, which implies, for instance, to make public in full all new regulations, limitation in retroactive effects of laws, protection of legitimate interest and legitimate expectation or using interventional procedures with care and limitation. A new and to some extend highly volatile environment need to know in advance the “rules of the game” for this new situation of “new normality”. Clarity in the content of laws and regulations will prevent arbitrariness and abuse of power. Not knowing what to expect due to regulatory uncertainty can only aggravate the unavoidable incertitude of our present real world. Chaos shall bow to the writs of the law so legal certainty shall rule over risks and uncertainty of our new uncertain times.

Salvador Rodríguez Artacho
Partner at Hernández-Echevarría Abogados

After the Pandemic

After the Pandemic

On 22 April our Corporate member Ie University organised in colaboration with the Spanish Chambers of Commerce network in Asia, an online seminar inviting Enrique Dans, Professor of Innovation at IE University.

What will the world look like after the pandemic? The question, increasingly, is no longer whether we will return to normal after the pandemic, but whether we really want to return to normal. Labor, the environment, the economy, education and healthcare are just five examples of things that should change after this crisis. Are we really sure that we want to go ‘back to normal’ after the pandemic? Did we like that ‘normality’ so much? And since we have managed to make a clean break with it… why not take advantage and move on to something better?

Professor Enrique Dans has a Bachelor in Science from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, an MBA from Instituto de Empresa and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from UCLA.

Musings on technology, Covid-19 and the long term impact

Musings on technology, Covid-19 and the long term impact

Musings on technology, Covid-19 and the long term impact

The ongoing health crisis caused by the spread of Covid-19 has transformed almost overnight the way most of us engage with our company, colleagues, clients, friends or even our family. Country governments and corporate leaders are tackling the current events in the short term while considering the mid to longer term strategic changes required to handle a post Covid-19 society.

In most developed countries, including Japan, this pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of a working culture that provides greater flexibility to employees. These days, basically, most of us are working from home and many of us have changed our working hours, eliminating commute time while setting aside time during the “working day” to do things like chat with our family, take our pet out for a walk or have a virtual drink with friends.

Almost overnight, many companies increased massively their use of digital engagement solutions, accelerating by years their digital transformation journeys. Current solutions like WebEx, Zoom, TEAMS, Yammer or email have seen a dramatic increase of use. While it has created odd or funny situations (strange home decorations, children running in the background, too casual dress attire, etc.) for the most part, people have shown the ability to adapt and learn quickly. One important challenge for many of us, though, has been to learn how to mentally compartmentalize our living and working space, meaning, how to switch on and off from work while at home, since home is the new “office”.

The longer-term implications that this “new way” of working will have are yet to be seen. For example, how will Japan, a nation that is technologically advanced in some areas, like robotics, but which also does considerable amount of business over informal interactions, like dinner, drinks or Karaoke, look like once the pandemic is over? Will most people go back to work 9 to 5 in their offices as before or will the current way with flexible and remote working, be understood and widely accepted instead of frowned upon?

Furthermore, in a future potential society where the current level of digital engagement becomes the normal, what’s the future for retailers? Will they all close their physical shops except for a few flagship stores, move online and reduce massively their workforces? In hospitality, will restaurants become mostly an Uber-eats kitchen? In other industries with large human sales forces, what role will physical sales representatives have in an era where customers and stakeholders prefer to get information or place their orders online? Or, when it comes to health, will we finally embrace fully digital health services, therefore changing the role and priorities of the health care workers, such as doctors or nurses?

Many are the questions and few are the answers thus far. What are your thoughts on what will the future look like?

Javier Asenjo
Head of IT & Digital for Japan Business, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Asia – Pacific Regional Economic Outlook – COVID-19

Asia – Pacific Regional Economic Outlook – COVID-19

The Asia Pacific Region is the most dynamic of the global economy with a stable high growth forecast. However, the lingering impact of the coronavirus outbreak raises the uncertainty in the area.

The Spanish Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Singapore jointly organize a webinar for their members to better understand the respective countries’ economies in relation to CoVid-19.

Moderator

Barbara Apraiz, Executive Director, Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Philippines

Speakers

  • Cristina Teijelo, Economic and Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Spain to China (Hong Kong)
  • Fernando Hernández Jimenez-Casquet, Economic and Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Spain to Japan
  • Alejandro Nieto, Commercial Attaché, Embassy of Spain to South Korea
  • Pedro Pascual, Economic and Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Spain to Philippines
  • Jose Maria Blanco, Economic and Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Spain to Singapore

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, 21st April 2020
Place: Zoom Online Webinar
Time: 18:00 – 19:30 JST
Language: English
Members Only

Boletin CoVid-19

Boletin CoVid-19

Recopilación de los resúmenes elaborados por la Cámara de Comercio de España sobre las noticias generadas por las crisis del COVID-19, con información del Comité Técnico de Seguimiento y los cambios normativos publicados en el BOE.

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MAY

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