President & Board of Directors
On the evening of Thursday, June 26 we opened the first Annual General Membership Meeting under the
new Shadan Hojin Law in line with our new Articles of Association and Bylaws. It was indeed a major
change, especially for the many long-time members who have contributed so much to the Club. The Board
of Directors has also been struggling to learn the new rules and understand the requirements of the Shadan Hojin Law.
We had three major successes on Thursday. First, the meeting was opened and conducted in a reasonably
smooth fashion, bearing in mind the traditional culture of the FCCJ. Second, we passed two crucial resolutions,
including adoption of the FY2013 financial report as required by law. Third, we successfully selected six Regular
members to the 2014-2015 Board of Directors (Suvendrini Kakuchi, Lucy Birmingham, Masaaki Fukunaga, Patrick
Zoll, Carsten Germis, and Michael Penn). Additionally, William Sposato was selected for a two-year term as Kanji,
with Dennis Normile as the Reserve Kanji.
Unfortunately, we were not able to complete the BoD selection process on Thursday night. The new Shadan Hojin
Law requires that Directors be selected by GMM resolutions, and that such GMM resolutions can only be passed
by approval from a majority of members in attendance. In this case, that meant any candidate who failed to reach
94 votes was not eligible for the BoD. None of the 10 Associate candidates overcame that hurdle. There were also
no "Reserve Directors" selected from among the Regular member candidates.
The BoD understood this outcome was possible. The fundamental issue is that our democratic FCCJ culture isn't
entirely compatible with Japan's new laws that govern organizations like ours. As a result, our new system is a sort
of hybrid. It will take some time to figure out all of the policies we will need to ensure smooth and fair operations in
the future. We’ve already learned so much.
According to the decision reached at the AGMM on Thursday night, we are now operating under a "Caretaker
Board of Directors" consisting of nine Directors from the 2013-2014 BoD, plus the three new Directors who were
successfully selected (Suvendrini Kakuchi, Patrick Zoll, and Carsten Germis). The current Club officers remain in place.
This 12-member Caretaker BoD will be formulating a new Associate candidates selection process with the
Associates Member Liaison Committee and Election Committee. It will be a more efficient and fair method and
hopefully allow for the additional two Regular and one Associate Reserve Directors.
Under the Bylaws we have two months to resolve this interim situation, but we are aiming to untie the knot and
launch the 2014-2015 BoD within about a month.
Finally, let me add that we absolutely need our Regular members to help resolve this problem. No matter what
decisions are made by the Caretaker BoD, it will still be necessary for all Directors to receive at least 94 votes -
perhaps more - in order to successfully launch the new BoD.
It has been a great pleasure and honor to serve as President for the 2013-2014 term during this unprecedented
year. Please assist me, and the Caretaker BoD, to quickly move forward and launch our very first board of
directors under the new system. With all sincerity, we need your cooperation to make this happen.