The Foreign Entrepreneur Promotion Committee’s “Kokusai Shinenkai” Fukuoka’s first, was held on January 30, 2004 at the Okura Hotel. The event, attended by more then 200 guests, lived up to its “kokusai” title with participants from over 17 countries. The Taiwan External Trade Development Council, together with the Taiwan Trade Center, boasted the largest delegation with 21 corporate trainees igniting Okura’s Heian ball room.
Event organizers and guests took full advantage of the year’s first business networking opportunity. Fukuoka’s International Business Network (FIBN) was present promoting its Internet based information services. The Japan America Society (JAS) was on hand soliciting potential new members. Additionally, the Junior Chamber of Commerce was in full strength as Chamber President Hiroyuki Inoue expounded on plans to host the International World Congress-a week long event to take place in November of this year. The international event promises to attract 15,000 business people to Fukuoka City and pump 50 Million Dollars into the local economy. Chief Operating Officer of Daiei’s Fukuoka Dome and Seahawk Hotel, Mr. Hisao Sakai, spoke on the importance of networking while Kyushu University Professor Toru Tanigawa described “venture capital” activity in Kyushu. Top brass from Fukuoka City Hall, the Prefecture office and the diplomatic community added to the event with speeches from Fukuoka prefecture Governor Wataru Aso, who encouraged guest to “communicate in English.” Consuls from Australia and the United States officially closed the formal agenda and launched the festivities with a robust “kampai!”
Nagoya based Japanzine enjoyed their Fukuoka debut mingling among potential clients, as did Towry Law Investment Services. The most visible promoter and surely the most popular was Avon Drinks, who’s generosity overflowed to the delight of 200 imbibing guests. The event differed from traditional ‘shinenkai’ parties by featuring an all American Jazz trio. The band filled the air with infectious tunes that both relaxed and excited guests as they exchanged business cards and well wishes for a profitable business year. The event ended with roars and applause as Governor Aso himself took center stage, flinging his jacket to the wind and dancing freely to the band’s grand finale, “Another Star.”