Setting A New Benchmark for Japan

Last month, Burt Cabanas, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International, announced the launch of Benchmark Hospitality International Japan (Benchmark Japan), a joint partnership with Hiromi Takagi and Kozue Honda, both of Tokyo. Takago and Honda have been affiliated with the conference center firm for several years through Benchmark Tech, the company's Japanese affiliate, with Takago serving as president and COO, and Honda as VP and GM.

Benchmark Japan has acquired 100 percent of Benchmark Tech from Tech R&DS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daiwa House, a leading Japanese company in residential and commercial construction. The rebranding to Benchmark Hospitality International Japan followed.
Benchmark Tech operated the Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa, which includes 20,000 sf of International Association of Conference Centers-certified conference space. The property joins the Benchmark portfolio.

"We are very excited to officially join Benchmark Hospitality," Takagi and Honda said in a joint statement. Takagi added, "We believe that the conference center concept in day centers... as well as in hotels and resorts has significant opportunity to expand and grow in Japan. Honda concurred, saying, "Our clients recognize the advantages of Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa's meeting facilities and services. We look forward to expanding Benchmark Japan to better serve existing customers and introduce the conference center concept to other Japanese cities and clients."

Benchmark Japan isn't wasting any time in expanding its reach. Cabanas also announced that the hospitality firm has been awarded the development rights to a mixed-use office project in the Ariake area of Tokyo. The project is a 20-story office tower that will include a nonresidential conference center. It is scheduled for completion in 2010. In addition, Benchmark Japan is involved in a hotel/conference center development in the city of Nagoya's "Sasashima Live 24" area slated for completion in 2013.

"I am extremely pleased to make this announcement," said Cabanas. "With this acquisition,we expand our strong relationship with our business partners... and enhance our opportunities for future growth in Japan." In an interview with MeetingNews last month, Cabanas indicated that there were additional projects under way with Benchmark Japan, but that he could not go into detail (see Feb. 11 MN, p. 12).

To read the full interview, on the Web, go to

Originally published March 24, 2008