UK Companies Are Seeing Increasing Opportunities to Lend Their Expertise in Japan
The Department for International Trade (DIT) organised a networking ice breaker session for key players in the global sports industry in Japan to meet with UK companies in light of the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020.
About 13 British companies participated in this year’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event, which was held at Yokohama Arena.
Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Committee and Neil Levett, Managing Director of Alad Ltd, the organisers of the conference and exhibition, were also present at the event.
The British Embassy has organised a series of events and seminars over the past two years to share their experience and lessons learned from London 2012 and sharing these with Japanese counterparts.
Japan sent 200 observers to Rio 2016 to establish contacts and take away lessons about what worked and what could be improved upon for Tokyo 2020.
Tim Johnson, Head of Strategic Trade at the Department for International Trade, emphasised the British Embassy’s involvement in global sports cooperation ahead of Tokyo 2020.
“Japan is now rolling up its sleeves to prepare for the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” said Johnson.
After the networking session, delegates could set up their booths and start meeting industry specialists and key decision-makers.
UK Companies Attending the Exhibition
AndArchitects are seeking to bring their experience gained at London 2012 and Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020.
The company specialises in “nomadic architecture” and legacy projects, working with local partners and providing consultancy and expertise.
They came up with concepts for temporary buildings used during London 2012 and Rio 2016. A recent example of what the firm can bring to Tokyo 2020 includes the Future Arena, which was the Rio 2016 Olympic Handball Arena.
This temporary structure was designed to be taken apart once the Games were over, and the materials used in the construction of four new schools.
Stadia & Arena 2016 is AndArchitects first trip to Japan, where they are hoping to offer their design and planning expertise.
Rhino Turf is an extension under the Rhino brand, and is an artificial grass specialist.
After going through rigorous testing in a sports lab, the focus is on installing, maintaining and recycling the artificial turf, so that performance, which is maintenance-related, is not negatively affected.
Europe is an advanced market for artificial grass, but Rhino Turf’s offering to Japan is to set up partnerships with good local partners and work with local contractors to deliver the product.
With Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 coming up within a few years, Rhino Turf is perfectly poised to offer their product in a growing market.
“ We are here to meet and greet this year, and looking to set up a deal with professional people in the industry,” said Jonathan Gallagher, Director of the company, which serves clients such as Chelsea Football Club.
“Success for us will be about finding the right partners, and we are seeking a good partner who wants to develop a solid business.”
Quadratica is a provider of computer and web-based personnel who operate security check points.
Managing Director of Quadratica, Chris Grey, said, “At Quadratica we have a long track record in global events, so it is natural for us to be here for Tokyo 2020.”
The company has already been talking with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) with the objective of lending expertise and support.
Being a small company is what Grey believes is one of its greatest strengths as this allows them to pivot easily and makes them more agile than their competitors.
For London 2012, Quadratica trained 22,300 people over a 3-month period, however, due to last minute changes they had to roll out more training to the British Army, who were called in unexpectedly.
They are able to deliver a high standard of training across a wide geographic spread as well as possessing the capacity to train various groups of people across different sectors, such as civilians, the army, the police force, and volunteers.
Neil Levett, managing director of organiser Alad Ltd., was positive about the opportunities for UK companies to win some big contracts to deliver services ahead of the upcoming global sporting events.
The British Olympic Association’s CEO, Bill Sweeney, offered his insights into Team GB’s preparations – which are well underway – for Tokyo 2020.
Next year’s event is planned for 26-28 September 2017 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Japan.
Article and photo by Vanessa Holden, October 2016.