BJA Webinar Japan and Belgium – An Ongoing Friendship 10 June 2020, Wednesday
The Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce is honored to invite you to attend an exclusive dialogue between HE Ambassador Makita Shimokawa, Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium & NATO, and Tanguy Van Overstraeten, BJA Vice-President & Partner, Linklaters LLP.
During this webinar, HE Ambassador Shimokawa and Mr Van Overstraeten will discuss the current Japan-Belgium relations during these challenging times, mainly from an economical point of view, adding some political and cultural outlooks, and extending a few perspectives for our future.
After the exchange of views, questions from the audience will be addressed by HE Ambassador Shimokawa and Mr Van Overstraeten.
This event is kindly sponsored and hosted by Linklaters LLP.
この度、日白協会兼商工会議所(以下、BJA)では下川眞樹太駐ベルギー王国日本国大使兼北大西洋条約機構日本政府代表部大使並びにBJA副会長兼Linklaters LLPの弁護士、Tanguy Van Overstraeten氏をお招きし、対談頂く機会を特別企画しました。
今回のウェビナーでは, 下川大使並びにVan Overstraeten 氏両者よりこの困難な状況下の中、今日における日本・ベルギー両国の政治・文化観点も含む主に経済面での関係、そして今後の展望についてお話を伺います。対談後、質疑応答の機会も予定しておりますので、是非ご参加ください。
A message from Wim Eynatten, BJA Legal & Tax Committee Chair & International Tax Partner at Deloitte (03/06/2020)
Dear BJA Friends,
I hope that you, your families, colleagues and friends are all well and safe during these unprecedented times, and that your companies are navigating these challenging times and starting to recover.
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that thinking is now firmly focused on recovery, and the steps required as we are emerging from lockdown.
As the COVID-19 pandemic radically disrupted work environments, the first priority has been crisis response: emphasising health and safety, essential services, and the virtualisation of work and education.
Now, companies are focusing on reopening and/or restoring the workplace effectively, efficiently, and especially safely. Yet the abundance of “unknown unknowns” - everything from changes in the social contract, to macroeconomic impacts, to local health ordinances, to individual employee preferences or fears of populated work environments – further complicate what is already a significant challenge.
The transition out of the lockdown starts to feel more real and further deconfinement in Belgium is expected as from 8 June 2020 with restrictions easing on travel, restaurants and bars. However, the journey out of lock down may be a potentially long one. Until there will be a vaccine we will have to get used to a new way of living and working. The BJA and Deloitte, like many other organizations and companies, are undergoing a transition in the way in which they engage with members, clients and stakeholders.
The COVID-19 crisis is not only impacting our personal lives, but it is also affecting our economy. Certain industry sectors are heavily impacted by this crisis and many companies are facing liquidity and/or solvency issues.
The Belgian Government acted very quickly at the beginning of the crisis and introduced support measures to mitigate on the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The BJA expresses its strong appreciation for the measures taken so far by the Belgian Government. Now that companies are starting to recover from the crisis additional tax & legal measures will be required to ensure a successful recovery.
As you may have read in the Belgian press, the Belgian Government is currently working on new COVID-19 Belgian support tax measures, i.e. (i) tax-free loss carry-back reserve; and, (ii) tax-free recovery reserve. The objective of these new measures is to allow companies to restore their liquidity and solvency positions. The recovery reserve should allow companies to maintain future profits in the company by exempting these profits from corporate income tax, so as the restore the company’s pre-Covid-19 equity; this regime will be subject to the company maintaining its equity and employment level. Both tax-free loss carry-back reserve and tax-free recovery reserve regimes are optional and subject to certain conditions and limits. These proposed support tax measures may still be subject to change during the legislative process. We will inform you on the details of these new measures in the upcoming BJA Newsflashes once they are final.
The BJA Legal & Tax Committee remains in close dialogue with the Unified Belgian Tax Alliance for a Successful Recovery and the Cabinet of the Minister of Finance and will keep all BJA members updated on further developments and any new tax or legal measures.
We hope that the Legal & Tax Committee updates in the weekly BJA Newsflashes are of interest to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us in case you would have a specific request for the Legal & Tax Committee; we will be glad to help you.
Until we meet again, please stay safe and healthy.
Wim Eynatten BJA Legal & Tax Committee Chair & International Tax Partner at Deloitte
BJA Cultural Committee News Special BJA Video Series: Delicious Life of Japan in Belgium: Japanese cuisine with Master Chef Kamo: Ichiju Sansai – Part 2
We hope you have enjoyed the 1st part of the special cooking video of ‘Ichiju Sansai’ by Mr Kamo, Master Chef of Restaurant Kamo.
We are pleased to present now the 2nd part of the video series in which he introduces how to prepare a very refreshing vinegared dish of Okra called, ‘Okura no sunomono’, a perfect dish to savor during these warm days.
As the Master Chef Kamo mentioned in the 1st video, ‘eating small portions from a variety of dishes is the fundamental of Japanese cuisine’, there will be more dishes to come, so stay tuned!
A message from Danielle Vermaelen, BJA EU Committee Chair & Partner at EY (27/05/2020)
Dear BJA friends,
We were last together on March 3 for our BJA luncheon with His Excellency Kazuo Kodama, Ambassador of Japan to the European Union, and with Mr Marco Chirullo, who has been the Deputy Chief Negotiator of the EPA on the European side and now serves as Deputy Head of the Far East unit at DG Trade.
We were fortunate that this event still could take place; no mouthmasks, only handgel and a declaration on honour of being Corona Free. We all enjoyed the event and went home with the positive message that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is a balanced, comprehensive agreement signed between 2 likeminded partners who believe free trade supports economic growth, and which aims at a positive overall outcome for both Japan and the EU; that this agreement - as the world's largest bilateral free trade deal, between partners covering nearly one third of global GDP - shows to the world that cooperation, not protectionism, is the way to tackle the current global challenges. The EU-Japan EPA is a game changer, that will serve as an example for new generation trade agreements.
Since then the world has changed. But we have shown resilience, flexibility and motivation to beat the crisis. The European Union as well has been acting to help its citizens and companies to cope with the new reality. Although one might think that the Union's reaction has been slow and uncoordinated across the different countries, we must admit that the challenges are unprecedented.
Protecting the health and safety of its citizens has been the EU's top priority. In addition, the EU and its member states are taking resolute action to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the outbreak and sustain jobs. The EU is mobilising all resources available to help member states coordinate their national responses, and this includes providing objective information about the spread of the virus and effective efforts to contain it.
EU leaders have agreed on a number of priorities to coordinate the EU's response to COVID-19 on both health and socio-economic areas: limiting the spread of the virus, ensuring the provision of medical equipment, boosting research for treatments and vaccines, and supporting jobs, businesses and the economy.
With respect to the latter, the EU is preparing a recovery plan, based on a revamped proposal for the next long-term EU budget (Multiannual Financial Framework). This includes enabling the transition towards a greener and digital society, and drawing all lessons from the current crisis for the EU's preparedness and resilience. In their 'Roadmap for Recovery'*, European Council President Charles Michel, jointly with European Commisson President Ursula von der Leyen, called for the new MFF to be agreed as soon as possible to avoid delays in essential investment and ensure resources can be directed to where they are needed as quickly as possible. We can only share their concern and support their action.
Japan has adopted his own model, less intrusive, allowing for a certain level of economic activity and maintaining people's freedom to move about; as such the model is more sustainable over the long term. It makes it a viable strategy to fight the long-term battle.** The Japanese government also organised an emergency package to fight the crisis and minimize its impact on the economy.
Let's be confident and have trust that all these actions taken in Europe and in Japan, but also elsewhere in the world, will allow for a back to a 'new' normal in which fair and balanced trade can serve people's health and welfare globally!
We hope that the EU news updates in the weekly BJA Newsflash are of interest to you. Furthermore the EU Committee is working on several initiatives for activities, business luncheons, etc. for the last quarter of the year. Do not hesitate to reach out to us in case you have a specific request for the EU Committee; we will be glad to help you.
The EU Committee and the BJA wish you to stay safe and healthy!
BJA EU Committee Chair & Partner at EY
** From 'The Diplomat', 24 April 2020, by Kazuto Suzuki, 'COVID-19 Strategy: The Japan Model Has Japan found a viable long-term strategy for the pandemic?'
BJA Cultural Committee News Announcement of Special BJA Video Series: Delicious Life of Japan in Belgium: Japanese cuisine with Master Chef Kamo: Ichiju Sansai – Part 1
We hope you are all well and safe!
As an association with deep roots within the people-to-people framework, the BJA believes in humanity, generosity, cooperation, and friendship. Staying side-by-side with all our members is of utmost importance to us.
We are determined to focus on supporting all of us, any way we can. With this intention, we have recently approached Mr Tomoyasu Kamo, the Master Chef of Restaurant Kamo and a member of BJA, to exceptionally show our members how to cook simple but healthy, delicious Japanese dishes that you can easily do at home.
To this request, Mr Kamo spontaneously responded positively and kindly created a very special series of cooking videos based on the fundamentals of the Japanese cuisine -「一汁三菜」"Ichiju Sansai".
We are so blessed with his kindness and are very pleased to share his videos in 4 parts with you in this and the upcoming BJA Newsflashes. We hope that these videos will bring you not only additional cooking skills but also extra joy to your eyes, to your taste buds, and to your appetite!
A message from Kiyohito Morimoto, BJA Vice-President, Nihonjinkai Chairman & Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe (13/05/2020)
Almost two months have passed since we started to face the lockdown measures in Belgium, due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus. We should have been spending an exciting moment with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games about to start, but unfortunately the games are postponed to next year. Moreover, we can not predict when we will be able to go back to a normal life, or even go back to where we were at before the pandemic.
We, as Toyota Motor Europe, are not an exception. We needed to stop the operation of all European plants shortly after we faced the lockdown. We cannot make the cars, and the dealers cannot even sell the cars. I imagine that most of the members of BJA are suffering in a similar situation.
But it is always darkest before the dawn. I strongly believe that if we keep on continuing what we can do at this situation, we can reach a good dawn. Let me introduce what we are doing as Toyota, under this lockdown situation.
Toyota has nine plants in seven European countries. Immediately after the governments of each country entered the lockdown, we were forced to stop our operations one after another. TME employees were also forced to work from home.
Under such circumstances, employees worked on two major things. One is to support those who are fighting against coronavirus at the front line. And the other is to rethink our way of working and prepare for a big leap when we return to the office, factory or sales site.
At the factory, we have created face guards, and door openers which can open and close the door without touching it by hands, by using a 3D printer that was not in operation at the factory. We also helped to implement the concept of the Toyota Production System, to improve the transportation system at medical sites to improve efficiency. And most of our dealers provided vehicles for medical personnel or people in societies to commute to hospitals. For ourselves, employees at factories gathered through video conferences to study Toyota Production System again and worked on “Kaizen” proposals that could not be made while the factories were in operation.
Although it is little by little, the situation of virus spread has begun to settle down, and lockdown measures in each country are gradually being lifted. The dark night is almost over and the sun is ready to start shining. We are almost there. Let's work together and lead the economic recovery.
In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.
Kiyohito Morimoto, BJA Vice-President, Nihonjinkai Chairman & Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe
Government of Japan - 2020 Spring Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals
The BJA would like to congratulate Andreas Thele, Professor at the Universities of Mons and Liege, Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Liege and Member of the BJA Cultural Committee for receiving the "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon" for his contribution to promoting academic exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and the Kingdom of Belgium.
We are indebted to his generous sharing of his knowledge and time to our association.
You can find the original news on the website of the Japanese Embassy by clicking on 'more'.
BJA Legal & Tax Committee News European Commission proposes an extension of DAC6 reporting deadlines in response to Covid-19 pandemic
On 8 May 2020 and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission published a proposal to postpone the deadlines for reporting and exchanging information under the EU Directive 2018/822/EU (also known as “DAC6”).
Click 'more' to view or download the full article.
A message from Edward De Beukelaer, BJA Vice President & Editorial Committee Chair (06/05/2020)
Challenging times are upon us. While being guided safely out of a most difficult and dangerous situation, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. We are hoping the light will be brighter as we go and not dim down again, here and across the oceans.
Although these past months have proven at many occasions to be beyond our imagination, it will be our imagination that will support us, not only on our way out, but also beyond in our growth and our development as a human being, a society, economy and as an association.
Next to being the BJA Vice-President, I have the honor and great pleasure to serve the Editorial Committee as its Chair as well. The BJA Trade Flows & Cultural Newsletter, the BJA Directory, and some other workings cross our committee’s eyes. Often we encounter the world of imagination in our endeavors and our search for interesting stories to be conveyed. We witness how without it, the world would be colorless, and there would be no art, no sciences, no creativity – so much needed right now right here.
With imagination, we understand that there is the ability of the mind to be creative and enterprising – and as humans, there is always the hope to be resourceful.
In this confronting period, we are venturing ourselves into a digitalized world, full force. Our upcoming Newsletters will be more and more digitized – of course we still like to offer you something to touch as well in your postal box in June – and a new interactive BJA website is about to be born. It is on its way out of imagination.
We are heading into new landscapes, navigating terrain not walked before as an organization, because we know that it will perhaps take a lot of time to return back to our ordinary reality. So we might as well use what we have discovered and experienced to assist us all in enriching our daily lives from now on, pushing us forward into different adventures to be created, off- and on-line. We are polishing our navigation skills as we float our boat.
As all good things in life, together we will always find our way through the toughest times.
Special thanks go to Anja, Mika and Joachim. They are constantly developing suggestions and constructing information bridges between all of us.
Stay safe, stay well, stay in touch with us,
Edward De Beukelaer
BJA Vice-President and BJA Editorial Committee Chair
The BJA Welcomes a new Sponsor Member
We would like to welcome TAKEDA BELGIUM as new Sponsor Member of the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce.
The Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce welcomes Takeda Belgium, Daldewolf, Wunderman Thomson, Makita Europe, Epiq, Nippon Gases
For more information and contact details, please click on more.
A message from Tanguy Van Overstraeten, BJA Vice President & Chair BJA Executive Committee(29/04/2020)
We are living in unprecedented times. In Belgium, we are now in the sixth week of confinement and in Japan, most people are going to spend the Golden Week at home.
We are anxiously watching the news and have all unfortunate stories relating to our beloved ones, friends and colleagues who have been affected by the disease one way or the other.
We know that this crisis is not only impacting our personal lives, it is deeply affecting our economy.
Yet, it is impressive to see how resilient and determined we are. Within a few days, we have adapted to a largely new working environment with everyone being connected and continuing to work together, where possible. The online holding of our annual general assembly and our recent communications are illustrations of what our Association has been able to deliver in such a crisis situation.
At global level, researchers are working around the world to find a vaccine or a cure largely relying on Big Data and AI technologies. Our governments are using or deploying technologies to reduce the spread of the virus, from the use of location data to monitor compliance with confinement rules to apps being developed to trace contacts of contaminated citizens.
This is undoubtedly raising issues in relation to privacy and personal data protection that will need to be addressed and resolved. However, it is also shaping Europe’s digital transformation. It will create further opportunities and foster innovation for the benefit of all.
Working from home for so many weeks is also likely to impact our professional lives with some positive aspects however. It will likely lead to a better recognition of agile working that should have a sustainable effect creating more efficiencies, increasing diversity (e.g. helping young parents to stay active while taking care of their families) and reducing the need for travelling which should also positively impact our environment.
These are all important subjects which our Association is exploring thanks to the hard work of its Committees. We look forward to discussing them with you in our upcoming events which we will hold first virtually and then physically as soon as this will be feasible.
We welcome your views and ideas and look forward to rewarding discussions on the ways to go through these difficult times.
Anja, Mika and Joachim as well as our Committees’ Chairs and Members are building our future activities with the support of our Board. We are pleased to present the upcoming ones soon. We look forward to your participation.
Meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy,
Tanguy Van Overstraeten
BJA Vice President
Immigration: Update on the single permit scheme
The Single Permit immigration process introduced in 2019 has created a number of challenges for Japanese companies seeking to employ foreign employees in Belgium. Most importantly, longer processing times led to delayed start of employment jeopardizing efficient human resources and business planning.
The BJA Tax and Legal Committee, in collaboration with the BJA Investment Committee, took a number of actions to address the issues with governments at federal and regional levels. This article provides an update on progress made over the last few months.
Click on 'more' to access and download the full article.
A message from Professor Gilbert Declerck, BJA President (21/04/2020)
This unprecedented crisis turned our lives upside down. The impact on our countries, our societies, our citizens, our families and friends, our hospitals, our companies and colleagues - it touches all of us on multiple dimensions.
Although many things are crumbling down, we can also see our people rising up to face the immense challenges. They show flexibility, a drive to keep going and a tremendous team spirit. Just as our Japanese friends have shown over and over again during natural disasters, we witness the resilience of people. We are creative and capable in adopting to the situation. I believe and I know that we will surmount this crisis to come out stronger and wiser.
As the President of the BJA and Board member of imec International I witness an intense cooperation inside of our multinational companies to work together. I am confident this will lead to more innovative waves of industrial work, connecting people more than ever with an accelerating trend of adopting new digital ways of work. Belgium has an open economy, located in the heart of Europe. The solidarity among all people in Belgium has proven amazing, and I am touched by it.
I am equally touched by the work delivered by our BJA Office and BJA Committees and Chairs, to remain in control and make constant adjustments. As a membership organization we thrive by bringing people together and serving them. Postponing events has been heartbreaking, but necessary. We cannot wait to welcome you all again once this crisis situation is over and meetings are allowed again in a safe environment.
Our tasks in the months ahead will adapt to the reality: we would like to continue serving our members and the broader Belgium-Japan relations to the best of our capabilities in these difficult times and beyond - even when physical meetings are and will be restricted for the foreseeable future. We will start organizing virtual events such as webinars, workshops and talks, etc.
We are also committed to communicate whenever and wherever necessary. The BJA Office invites you to contact them and have a BJA Virtual Tea Time Talk with all your questions for them or for the BJA experts in the different committees - or to just share your stories.
I can tell you they miss seeing each and all of you.
So do I.
Until we meet again, on- or off-line, please stay safe and healthy.
Job offers 人材募集
Please have a look at the latest job offers from JETRO, Daikin, MUFG,...Interested? Click on more.
We hope our message finds you and your families, colleagues and friends in good health despite the very difficult circumstances.
Following the Federal Government's most recent measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, the BJA has set up home office and closed temporarily the door at Avenue Louise. We have turned the AGM on March 23 into a tele-conference event, and currently all our planned physical events are postponed until further notice. We however continue to support the Belgian-Japanese community and conduct business and committee meetings remotely online.
Do not hesitate to contact us. We are here for you!
Please send us your messages, your questions, your suggestions, your stories:
We can set up a phone call or a remote live meeting.
We welcome you to join our page Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce on LinkedIn as well. Please keep an eye on this, in addition to our www.bja.be .
We will gather in the coming days helpful links from our members concerning the COVID-19 situation on our BJA website.
Last but not least, we would like to invite you to send us your articles for our BJA Trade Flows and Cultural Newsletter, if any.
The deadline is April 15. You can also send it earlier, if time allows.
The date of publication is end of May.
Please stay safe and take good care of yourself and each other,
The BJA Office
新型コロナウイルス感染拡大と，それに伴うベルギー政府の方針に従い，BJA事務局はテレワークに切り替え、当面の間Avenue Louise のBJA事務局オフィスは閉鎖となりますので、何卒ご理解の程，よろしくお願い致します。
Who is it for?
Journalists who work in Belgium and who, thanks to their passion for Japan, will contribute to strenghten the good relationships between the two countries.
What is it about?
The Marilo Fund is a unique initiative that promotes relations between Japan and Belgium. By partnering with the King Baudouin Foundation and the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce, the Marilo Fund has been supporting individuals and projects that contribute positively to the mission of the fund by means of a yearly award.
In addition, the 150 Years Fund is a special initiative of the Celebration Committee of the 150 Years of Friendship between Japan and Belgium. The 150 Years Fund will be specifically allocated to scholarships for journalists who work in Belgium who will contribute to articles and broadcasts on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics from 2017 to 2020-2021.
It is with deep sorrow that we, at the BJA, have been informed of the recent passing of Honorary Ambassador Patrick Nothomb.
Baron Nothomb has been a Belgian ambassador in Japan for many years, as well as a dedicated member of the BJA for many more. He put himself at the service of Belgium-Japan relations with whole his heart. It has always been a pleasure to have him and his wife in our midst, and he will be missed very much.
The BJA presents to the wife of Patrick Nothomb, his children André, Juliette and Amélie and to his grand-children our deepest condolences.
Picture of the BJA VIP Luncheon: One year after the EU-Japan EPA: where are we now?
The Pictures of the BJA VIP Luncheon: One year after the EU-Japan EPA: where are we now? are online. You can see the pictures by clicking on "more".
As you are aware, the introduction of the ‘single permit’ in Belgium since the beginning of 2019 has been difficult. Its processing time has become very long, which impacted negatively on the business and HR planning of Japanese companies with activities in Belgium.
On 3 December 2019, the BJA issued a letter to the Federal and Regional authorities and proposed several recommendations to streamline and shorten the process of issuing single permits. The letter was co-signed by Nihonjinkai and JETRO. Furthermore, the BJA has contacted the authorities at both Federal and Regional levels in order to follow up the recommendations in the letter and to improve the situation swiftly.
The BJA is happy to inform you that Mrs Maggie De Block, Federal Minister of Immigration, announced certain reforms yesterday, which reflect the recommendations in the letter and which will positively contribute to the improvement of the processing time of single permits.
The main reforms are:
- 20 additional staff at the Federal level (Ministry of Internal Affairs), which will spread the workload and decrease the processing time;
- Internal streamlining of the process at the Federal level (Ministry of Internal Affairs), which will also decrease the processing time;
- Building a digital platform that will link applicants and their proxy holders with the Regional & Federal authorities; and,
- Allowing to continue employment upon the approval by the Regional authorities without waiting for the approval by the Federal authorities.
The implementation of the first two measures should decrease the processing time to 6 to 8 weeks.
The BJA will further closely follow up this matter and will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
BJA & FEB Press Release: EU - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement: first positive evaluation!
The Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) and the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce (BJA) welcome the first positive evaluation of the agreement and call on Belgian and Japanese companies to tap into areas where the EPA's potential has not yet been realised.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (July 24th until August 9th 2020) are fast approaching, performance, innovation, emotion and the discovery of a unique culture will be at the heart of the greatest sporting event in the world.
As the official and exclusive agency of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee, EVENTEAM is your only official access to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for Belgium.
EVENTEAM is a member of the BJA since 2019 and official agency for major events such as Roland Garros, F1, the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, which will be a first expertise in the Nippon country.
EVENTEAM allows you to live this experience thanks to a 100% customizable offer available. The ticket sales started Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 10 am on www.eventeam.be/tokyo2020.
The EU and Japan have signed an unprecedented free trade agreement which will create one of the world's largest trading blocs.
Japan's Prime Minister Abe met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in Tokyo on Tuesday 17 July 2018 to sign the EPA at the 25th EU-Japan Summit.
The result of four years of negotiation, the EPA was finalized in late 2017 and is expected to come into force by the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in autumn 2019. The EU has called the agreement "highly ambitious and comprehensive." The total trade volume of goods and services between the EU and Japan is €86 billion.
Government of Japan - 2017 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals
Dear Members and Friends,
We would like to share with you the wonderful news of the honor bestowed upon our BJA Vice-President, Mr Tanguy Van Overstraeten.
The Japanese Embassy informed that on November 3, 2017, the Government of Japan decided to confer decorations on 149 foreign nationals for the Autumn 2017. From Belgium, Mr. Tanguy Van Overstraeten, Vice-President and Director of the Belgium-Japan Association and Chamber of Commerce (BJA) received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his contribution to strengthening economic relations between Japan and Belgium.
You can find the original news on the website of the Japanese Embassy: http://www.be.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/news_171103.html
Government of Japan - 2016 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals
Dear Members and Friends,
We would like to share with you the wonderful news of the honor bestowed upon our President, Prof. Gilbert Declerck.
We were informed by the Japanese Embassy to Belgium that on November 3rd, 2016, the Government of Japan announced the 2016 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals that included one Belgian citizen among the 96 recipients. Prof. Gilbert Declerck, President of the Belgium-Japan Association and Chamber of Commerce and former President and CEO of the IMEC, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his outstanding contribution to the enhancement of economic relations between Japan and Belgium.
You can also find this message on the Japanese Embassy’s website: http://www.be.emb-japan.go.jp/english/archives/news_161103.html and http://www.be.emb-japan.go.jp/japanese/archives_j/news_161103.html
Foreign Chambers of Commerce - Joint Response - Belgium Bashing International business community supports Belgium
Belgium’s image has seriously suffered in the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks in Paris last November. In response, a group of 13 Chambers of Commerce, representing the largest and most active foreign investors in Belgium, have signed an open letter re-affirming the commitment of the international business community to Belgium as a place to live and work. We have a strong, positive message about Belgium that we would like to share to help start correcting some of the misrepresentations.
Please kindly find the open letter of the Chambers by clicking 'more'.
The Government of Japan announced the names of foreign recipients of the 2015 Autumn Imperial Decorations - Mr Thomas Leysen, Honorary BJA President
On November 3rd, 2015, the Government of Japan announced the names of foreign recipients of the 2015 Autumn Imperial Decorations. Among the 100 foreign recipients are two Belgian nationals. Mr. Thomas André Leysen, President of Umicore N.V. / S.A., Former President of the Belgium-Japan Association and Chamber of Commerce, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his contribution to the enhancement of economic relations and mutual understanding between Japan and Belgium. Mr. Daniel Ost, a Flower artist, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his contribution to the promotion of cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between Japan and Belgium.
The Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate all the bestowed, but especially Mr Thomas Leysen, former BJA President, on the conferment of decoration “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” to him by the Government of Japan.
The BJA is honoured to have him as BJA Honorary President, and indebted to his expertise and wisdom he gladly shares to the benefit of Belgium-Japan relations. His continued efforts to strengthen the bonds of the community will lead us to take example in contributing to the friendship between our two nations.
On December 10th, an awarding ceremony of the Ambassador‘s Commendation was held at the Ambassador’s residence. The following three persons were awarded the commendations for their valuable contribution to promoting friendly relations and enhancing economic and cultural exchanges between Japan and Belgium.
1. Mr. Tanguy VAN OVERSTRAETEN (Vice President of Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce (BJA))
Mr. VAN OVERSTRAETEN has contributed to promoting economic relations through working on legal issues related to Japan’s and Belgium’s investment for more than 20 years, particularly by establishing and managing the Legal and Tax Committee at BJA.
2. Prof. Andreas THELE (Director of Japanese Studies Centre, University of Liège)
Prof. THELE has contributed to promoting cultural and academic relations through research and lectures in Japanese Studies for more than 20 years at the University of Liège and through Japanese language education at the University of Mons.
3. Prof. Dimitri VANOVERBEKE (Professor of Japanese Studies, Catholic University of Leuven)
Prof. VANOVERBEKE has contributed to promoting cultural and academic relations through research and lectures in Japanese Studies at Catholic University of Leuven for more than 15 years and through activities in various areas of exchange between Japan and Belgium.
The Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate all the bestowed of a certificate of commendation by His Excellency Ambassador Mitsuo Sakaba, Japanese ambassador to Belgium.
His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium bestowed upon the BJA the Royal title. This honour comes as the BJA prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. During these 50 years, the BJA has promoted closer ties between Belgium and Japan, both at the economic, cultural and personal level.
On March 20th, the Royal Diploma was handed over during an Official Ceremony by the Governor of Brussels, Mr Jean Clément, to Mr Thomas Leysen, the President of the BJA, in presence of BJA Vice-Presidents, Mr Edward De Beukelaer, Mr Atsushi Sudo and Mr Tanguy Van Overstraeten.
The title "Royal" may be granted by the King to Belgian associations that have been in existence for more than 50 years. Other criteria taken into account include good management, the not-for-profit purpose of the association, its vitality and soundness.
The BJA is most grateful for the honor granted by His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium - a historical moment for the association and its members.
Certificate of Commendation by H.E. Ambassador Jun Yokota, Japanese ambassador to Belgium
The Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate all the bestowed, but especially Mr Thomas Leysen, BJA President and Mrs Anja Oto-Kellens, BJA Executive Director on the bestowment of a certificate of commendation by His Excellency Ambassador Jun Yokota, Japanese ambassador to Belgium.
Pictures of Commendation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan to the BJA ＢＪＡ平成20年度外務大臣表彰受賞のレセプション写真集
The Japanese Embassy in Belgium officially informed the BJA that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan awarded in Tokyo on July 15, 2008 the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce a commendation for the outstanding role the BJA plays in fostering the relations between both nations.
The certificate of commendation was bestowed upon the BJA during a reception at the residence of HE Ambassador Hayashi on Thursday 2 October in Brussels.