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Meet the team

Management Team

TopSteve Crane

Steve Crane is responsible for the day to day management of Business Link Japan. He spends 60% of his time in Europe and the US meeting with clients and making presentations and 40% of his time in Japan working with the BLJ Japanese team. Steve has 15+ years experience of building technology companies in Japan, recruiting in excess of 40 staff members in Japan and generating multi-million dollar contracts and revenue.

TopYoshiyuki Sato

Yoshiyuki Sato is President of Business Link Japan KK and Representative Director of the organization. He is responsible for day to day operations of all BLJ business in Japan, managing the team and maintaining focus on results delivery. Yoshi has over 15 year experience in the electronics sector, and in particular he specialises in Semi-conductor and IP sales activities.

TopWakako Yamaguchi

Wakako Yamaguchi is part of the BLJ Management Team and contributes to the strategic development of the business in Japan. Wakako is responsible for the exclusive business development of one of our major clients, and drives their business forward on a day to day basis. Wakako has almost 15 years experience working in business development in the electronics sector in Japan, and has achieved success in all her roles. She has particular experience in the IC, Medical and Security sectors, and has significant experience of direct sales and building channels via distributors.

TopMasami Saito

Masami bring 25 years of sales, product marketing, business development and project management experience to the BLJ team. He has extensive experience of working with overseas companies and a proven track record for achieving business growth in the Japanese market.

TopDr Taka Hirai PhD

Taka is a founder member and key part of the management team of BLJ. He gained a Ph.D in Science and Engineering, before joining Canon Inc. where he gain a wealth of technical and commercial experience working at various business units in the USA and Japan. Taka is responsible for setting strategic direction for BLJ and works with our clients in the fields of Nanotechnology, Chemical technology, Medical Device/Technology, Renewable Energy and Battery Technologies. Taka is a member of The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan and The Japan Society of Drug Delivery Systems.

TopTony Mitchell

Tony is the digital brains and driving force behind the Export to Japan digital platform, in addition to his role as Digital Manager at UKTI Japan, Tony works with Steve Crane on development of Export to Japan. A long term resident of Japan, Tony brings a wealth of experience in all things digital: Project Management, Email Marketing, Live streaming of webinars, CRM, Search Engine marketing and Video production.

TopVanessa Holden

Vanessa joined Business Link Japan to work as Content Manager for the Export to Japan digital platform in October 2014 following a successful internship at the British Embassy Tokyo. Vanessa is responsible for creating and commissioning content, SEO, membership support, social media and webinar facilitation for the digital platform and is a long term resident of Japan.

TopMutsuo Ogawa

Ogawa-san previously worked for Ricoh Corporation, where he worked in various divisions gaining an in-depth knowledge of consumer electronics across the entire organisation. With a large contact network inside Ricoh and at several other Japanese organisations, Ogawa-san is supporting various clients to grow their business. His particular focus areas are consumer products, communication systems and software Engineering. Ogawa-san is a keen student of Chinese language and is in training for his first marathon during his spare time.

TopHisashi Matsuda

Matsuda-san graduated in Law at Kobe University before joining Toshiba Corporation. During his emplyment with Toshiba Matsuda-san worked in the TV, Electron Device Group, Display Devices, and Components Division. He also achieved the position of President of Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH, based in Dusseldorf Germany for five years. He became Board Member and held overall responsibility for sales.

TopHiroshi Ohtani

Ohtani-san spent 34 years in Matushita Electric (Panasonic). He initially worked in the central research laboratory, and then in the components business. Ohtani-san held the positions of GM – Engineering, Business Division Director and Deputy Director of Marketing for Matsushita.  Ohtani-san utilizes his wide network of contacts throughout Asia to support our clients, and has a very strong network in China as well as Japan.

TopTad Kubodera

Tad Kubodera previously worked for Sony Corporation. He was initially in charge of circuit design and new components design development, before moving to London UK  to work on Colour TV design and component development for the European market. Kubodera-san went on to hold various posts, such as director of Sony US TV division in San Diego, Regional President of North America Mobile Phone Division, and European President of TV / Audio. He shares his various technical and commercial experience, as well as large human network  to help our clients grow their business in Japan.