JLGC News Spring 2019

15 Whitehall

15 Whitehall office

JLGC London Hello and Goodbye 2019

JLGC said goodbye to five staff in March this year, Deputy Director Mr Hideaki Shibata returns to Aichi Prefecture HQ in Nagoya to be replaced by Mr Narutoshi Kimata in the position, also from Aichi Prefecture.  Assistant Directors Mr Daiki Yoshijima returns to Wakayama Prefecture, Ms Misato Watanabe to Fukushima Prefecture, Ms Naomi Yamaguchi to Tsu City and Ms Noriko Makita to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Arriving in April were Mr Shoya Abe from Sendai City, Mr Atsushi Nosaka from Wakayama Prefecture and Yusuke Takahashi from Tokyo Metropolitan Government. From April 2019 JLGC also has seconded staff from the Japanese local authorities of Hyogo, Gifu, Tokushima Prefecture.  JLGC staff are very grateful to our partners in the UK and elsewhere who continue to support our activities and look forward to working with colleagues this coming financial year.

JLGC @ Experience Japan, Dublin

JLGC Staff attended and manned a stall again in April 2019 at the Experience Japan ‘Hanami’ festival day, which holds a series of events designed to celebrate Japanese culture and the Japanese community in Ireland.  The centrepiece of Experience Japan is the ‘Hanami’ festival day where families can enjoy free music and dance performances, along with demonstrations of Japanese culture. ‘Hanami’ is the traditional Japanese custom of viewing flowers, especially cherry blossom, to mark the arrival of spring.  JLGC staff provided tourist information on Japan’s regions and carried out market research into Japan as a holiday destination, this year with a specific focus on the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan which starts from September.

Intralink supporting Japanese Local Authorities

Greg Sutch, CEO of Intralink Limited and JET Programme alumni, visited JLGC London to discuss strategy with staff seconded from Japanese local authorities.  Intralink is an international business development consultancy specialising in East Asia and Greg has supported UK Japan links previously by promoting Japan focused careers at events organised by the JET Alumni Association (of whom JLGC is the main sponsor), as well as being key note speaker at the JLGC Seminar in Derby earlier this year.  JLGC seconded staff help their local authorities’ international strategy by researching commercial opportunities supporting local business overseas business, and helping them market their products in foreign markets.  Greg is one of many JET alumni supporting Japan’s local government international links.

Gifu Prefecture supporting regional local crafts at Heal’s

A range of products from Gifu Prefecture was launched at a celebration of crafts, culture, food and drink, at Heal’s Japanese Craft Market, the upmarket British furniture and furnishing store on London’s Tottenham Court Road. For over a century, Heal’s has been known for promoting modern design and employing talented young designers and this evening brought together representatives from the brands taking part in the market, as well as representatives from the Gifu Prefectural Government.

JLGC staff have been helping research UK market conditions and supported companies from the prefecture for some years at this event which has become a regular feature of Heal’s annual Japanese Craft Market.  Gifu is home to a lively crafts scene with both traditional and modern makers. 13 exhibitors who will be selling their pieces at the market, for which the Heal’s buying team visited the region to immerse themselves in the rich culture and visited the various designers and makers from the region. The result is a comprehensive edit of the best of Gifu including ceramics, furniture, knives and of course the world famous Mino Washi paper.

Post-JET Story Videos

JETAA UK, the alumni association for the JET Programme (managed by CLAIR, JLGC’s head office in Tokyo) and Peek Content, a branding and content agency, is engaging with JET Alumni to share their stories about their experiences in Japan and how the experience has benefited them, capturing their true stories to illustrate the positive impact of the programme.

All video content will be self-captured by a bespoke smart phone app, Field Notes and each participant receiving coaching and advice on how best to self-film their stories.  Participants will complete an introduction and x3 further assignments talking about specific areas (TBC), but should cover the following:  Brief history of their JET experience, Impact of JET and Words of advice after leaving JET.

If you were on the JET Programme and you’ve got a great story or great advice for people finishing JET and how to use your Japan experience, send an email to with [Post-JET story] in the subject bar, and give a brief outline of the three points above – a £100 incentive will be given to the selected participant as a thank you for their time.

The videos will be used at training events and for careers guidance as well as a learning tool for alumni newly returned from Japan, and uploaded to the JETAA UK website.

International Food & Drink Event

JLGC staff again attended the food and drink industry’s biggest event of the year, IFE 2019 which has garnered interest from some of the sector’s leading brands.  The biennial event provides both British and international suppliers with the rare opportunity to meet and connect with top retail, wholesale and distribution, import and export and foodservice & hospitality buyers.

Japanese producers are increasingly relying on local government to support their international marketing, particularly after the agreement of the EU-Japan trade deal now in force, meaning cheaper wine and cheese for Japan, as well as  cheaper cars for the EU but also cheaper agricultural products from Japan – the recent global boom in ‘washoku’, or Japanese cuisine, is thought of as a great opportunity in a market where consumers are increasingly demanding authentic Japanese ingredients and products.  The world’s biggest such deal, it covers nearly a third of global GDP and 635 million people.

Sakura High School visit

Japanese high school students from Chiba Prefecture visited JLGC’s London office for an afternoon of presentations and discussions on multiculturism and British society.  12 students from Sakura Senior High School joined JLGC staff seconded from Japan and local staff for discussions on a wide range of subjects after presentations in English by the Sakura HS students.  Japan’s local authorities continue to focus on English education as part of the curriculum with an increasing emphasis on practical skills while the central government as the government looks to develop what it calls “global human resources.”

Part of this focus is the JET Programme, managed by CLAIR HQ (JLGC’s parent office in Tokyo) which places graduates in Japanese local authorities throughout the country to work as Coordinators for International Relations, and Assistant Language Teachers, both of who work in communities to promote English language skills for international communication.  There are currently 5,528 JETs. placed throughout Japan in 2019, 513 of them UK graduates, an increase of 90 from 423 in 2017 as the programme expands to support Tokyo 2020 projects all over Japan.