Bridges: Can you tell us how the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce continues to create opportunities, connect businesses and foster friendships?
Teruya: One of the primary methods the HJCC uses in connecting members is by hosting a variety of events where members are able to network to foster friendships. These events target specific member demographics, e.g., business category, sporting events and length of membership for younger members to mentor with senior members. This is all based on our principle of ‘Members Supporting Members’.
What key industries do your members come from and what current trends and opportunities interest them?
Our membership is comprised of 40% small business/retail, 40% professional and 10% government, non-profits and retired members. I like to view our membership as an eco-system between users and providers of product & services. The small business/retail sector are users of services from the providers – bankers, insurance, CPAs consultants, attorneys, marketing, etc. While the professional sector is relatively stable, we are now seeing growth in the small business sector.
How would you describe the synergy between Hawaii and Japan today?
We see a mutual interest by both Hawaiian and Japanese residence as primary tourist destinations. So many of us in Hawaii are anxiously awaiting Japan to open for tourists and I’m sure vice-versa. We also enjoy a sister relationship with the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an affiliate relationship with the Fukui CC&I and communicate regularly with both.
What are some examples of successful Hawaii-Japan business partnerships and collaborations across various sectors?
Much of the successful Hawaii-Japan partnerships happens at the membership level. When contacted directly, the HJCC provides Japan business with contacts from our membership whether it be legal advice or consulting, “creating opportunities” for our members.