November 2014 saw a long-wished reunion in Tokyo: Geoff Bolton, OCL/P&OCL veteran of thirty years from the 1967 startup of the OCAL head office in Sydney, moved to Japan soon after the first ‘Encounter Bay’ voyage arrival from Europe - for a 3-year secondment to the Swire Shipping Tokyo office during 1970-73. Geoff was systems project manager alongside local Swire Systems department manager Teru Noma for the initial AJCL (Australia-Japan Container Line) trade to Australia from 1970, followed two years later by the OCL Europe-Japan trade.
An additional New Zealand service by CSCS (Crusader Swire Container Service) was also supported by this department in later years.
After his later return to OCAL Sydney in 1973 Geoff became commercial manager for the AJCL trade for six years, then later becoming Australian Container Manager for a similar term.
After a 41-year break, during which Geoff and Teru had kept in contact, Geoff decided this year to revisit Japan for a reunion with former workmates: though the Swire Shipping agency and their department had moved on through mergers and closures, Teru Noma in recent years convened an annual Systems staff reunion which this year Geoff was able to join – for a hectic but enjoyable one-week visit.
Another Tokyo reunion earlier that week also gave Geoff the opportunity to renew meetings with other Swire ‘old boys/girls’ from shipping and other sections with whom he had worked or known in AJCL trade. Geoff travelled to Yokohama later that week for lunch with Y.(“Harry”) Tanaka who as AJCL trade manager also often visited Australia.
Note - Apart from the initial important roles of Swire Systems EDP team for the OCL/P&OCL Japan-based container services from Tokyo, their staff development and skilling continued, with some later spending time working overseas to assist other OCL/P&OCL company branches by reinforcing their local EDP team assets: as examples Takumi Watabe worked at different times in the group’s EDP units in Sydney, Wellington, and London … Mariko Kojima in the Wellington branch, and absent members Taeko Suzuki and Tsubuku who also worked in OCL London).
Above photo taken at the “Olive” café - Back row – Takumi Watabe, Teru Noma, Geoff Bolton, Yurie Watanabe, Yamane; front row – Mariko Kojima, Mori, Hiromi Makita, Yukiko ONO (now ‘Olive’ cafe venue owner). Photo excludes photographer Toshi Katsura, and Kimiko Hoshino who had to leave earlier.
Article and photograph kindly provided by Geoff Bolton.