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Tue 16 October 2012

Event report: 2012 Deshima Business Awards

Event report: 2012 Deshima Business Awards

The NCCJ held its annual 2012 Deshima Business Awards ceremony Oct. 11, attended by a full crowd at the TEPIA building in Gaiemmae. The ceremony this year was honored by the presence of H.E. Mr. Jan Kees de Jager, finance minister of the Netherlands, who presented the awards.

     The 2012 Deshima Business Awards Chairman Leon Halders gave the opening remarks, and spoke of the challenges and joys of doing business in Japan, and the successes that the Deshima awards have celebrated in the past. Mr. Halders was well qualified to talk on this subject, his company – DSM Japan KK – having won a Deshima award in 2006.

     After being introduced by H.E. Mr. Radinck Jan van Vollenhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Japan, H.E. de Jager gave an entertaining talk on the history of Dutch business in Japan, and praised this year’s winners, “two firms that know they must engage in order to survive, who understand that change is the only constant.”

     Mr. de Jager noted that prior to his political career he was himself an entrepreneur, and so he knows “what it’s like to have a head full of ideas but feel restricted by rules and regulations.” He went on: “Every good entrepreneur is impatient, but knows that patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait. But good things also come to those who make them happen, who take the initiative.”

     But by the same token, Mr. de Jager noted, “No business thrives in isolation; no matter how hard one works, every so often everyone needs a little help,” and the Deshima awards recognize this too.

     Mr. Shinji Fukukawa, a longtime friend of the NCCJ, Senior Advisor to TEPIA and former Vice Minister of International Trade and Industry (METI), presented the small/medium business segment prize to winner Dick Bruna Japan, the licensing agent in this country for Miffy and Friends, a popular group of animated characters and an extremely strong household brand in Japan. Mr. Fukukawa said the committee recognized the company’s long-term and creative marketing efforts in its decision to give the award to the company. Mr. Shogo Tetsuda, representative of Dick Bruna Japan, gave a rundown on the company, noting that Japan is the second market for Miffy and her friends, having come here in 1964, and now enjoys an almost 100% recognition rate in this country.

     Runner-ups in the segment were Hauzer Techno Coating B.V., Scelta Mushrooms BV, and BV.

      Taco de Vries, Vice President of Randstad KK, introduced the winner of the large company segment prize, CSM Japan KK, a leading player in its sector worldwide, and the largest supplier of baked products, natural foods products and bio-based chemicals serving a variety of industries. Since opening its first sales office in Japan in 1989, CSM has grown its business to gain a 50% market share in this crucial market.  Mr. Koji Nakamura gave a talk on his company’s large and growing activities in this country and its efforts to expand market share. He noted that CSM’s Purac division, which produces lactic acid and succinic acid for a variety of products such as bioplastics, uses processes based on nature such as fermentation, to make products which are environment- and human-friendly, biodegradable and CO2 neutral.

     Runners-up in the large company category were Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. Japan Branch, and AEGON Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

     After the awards were presented, NCCJ Chairman Hans van der Tang gave an inspiring speech for his closing remarks, and all attendees retired to the TEPIA’s second-floor restaurant for a reception.