My fellow Chamber members,

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy!  The Chamber office has been closed and the entire staff is currently working from home.  Just the day to day activities to keep the Chamber operational have kept them quite busy and I would like to express my gratitude to all of them.  Please join me in thanking Merilyn Oda, Mina Sakai, Mai Shiomi and Wayne Ishihara for continuing to keep our organization moving forward.  They have been sharing important information via e-newsletters with all of you and President Ishihara has been sending various Covid-19 related initiatives to the Congressional Group and our City Council.

At the start of my year (July 1, 2019) I asked all of you to “Join me on my JOURNEY”.  The situation has changed and there needs to be new direction.

As a business organization, how are we going to move forward?  What is our strategy?  These are questions that have been raised for all of us here at the Chamber and most likely in your businesses.  The Chamber sent out an online membership survey to all of you to get an idea of what you are experiencing and what the Chamber could be doing for you to survive this pandemic.  Thank you for taking the time to provide us feedback.

There were a few important messages that stood out from the survey.  Many appreciated the continued flow of valuable information that was being shared from the Chamber.  However, many suggested for the information to be consolidated instead of being sent as they became available.  Going forward the Chamber office will attempt to categorize the information being sent to you and designate certain days of the week to distribute them.

Now, what is the Chamber planning to do moving forward?  This is the time for our members to collaborate and support each other.  Use the Chamber as your sounding board.  Let us know what is happening in your business.  Are you re-opening?  Are you having a special event?  Are doing curbside business?  Please let the Chamber staff know and we will broadcast to the entire membership.  If you need assistance from a Banker, Attorney, Insurance/Real Estate Agent, CPA, etc. what better organization to seek assistance than members of our Chamber.  This type of support is what makes our Chamber different.  Contact the staff and they can assist you.  Also, as a reminder if you are supporting a member’s business make sure you tell them you are doing so because they are a member. MEMBERS SUPPORTING MEMBERS!

 Since we are celebrating our 120th Anniversary in 2020 we are working on a special video.  Our Communications & Marketing committee headed by Past Chair Melanie Okazaki and members Phyllis Kihara, Jill Kuramoto and Lynette Lo Tom will be producing a video to share our history and how our members are supporting each other.  It will also focus on what makes the Chamber different from other organizations.  Similar to our founders who also had to overcome the Bubonic Plague and Chinatown Fire, it will take all of us coming together, sharing ideas and supporting each other.  This new beginning will be better than it has ever been!

Thank you for your membership and continued support!

Jon Tsukamoto
Chair of the Board
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce – 2019-2020

Vice President
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

May 2020