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Khaldon Azhari, PanOrient News

KHALDON AZHARI is president of PanOrient News, an American media company producing TV News Packages and articles for wires and print publications, mainly in Arabic, with a focus on Japan and East Asia. Azhari has been the bureau chief of WAM (UAE-based news agency) and a correspondent for PETRA (Jordan News) since the mid-nineties. Additionally, as a former correspondent for various Arabic media such as MBC, CNBC Arabia, Dubai TV, he has been a regular contributor to BBC Arabic Radio and TV since the mid-nineties. Azhari has been the voice of Japan and East Asia to West Asia and the Arabic world for more than a quarter of a century and is a recipient of an award from the Japan-Arab Association for his contributions to media relations and for strengthening ties between Japan and the Arab countries.

1st Vice President

Monzurul Huq, Daily Prothom Alo

MONZURUL HUQ has been in journalism from his days as a free lancer while still a student in the late seventies. Huq later joined the United Nations as an Information Officer, but left in the late 1980s and moved to BBC London where he worked as a radio producer. He landed in Japan in mid-1990s to work at NHK radio and began working for a Bangladesh daily as their correspondent. When the editor of that newspaper launched a new daily, Prothom Alo, in 1998, Huq joined as their Japan correspondent, and is now East Asia Bureau Chief. He has authored a number of books on Japan and other issues, including a memoir reflecting on his journalism activities. He has been actively involved in Club activities throughout his tenure as a member of the FCCJ and served as President in 2009.

2nd Vice President

Robert Whiting, freelance

ROBERT WHITING is the author of several successful books on contemporary Japanese culture, including Tokyo Underworld, The Meaning of Ichiro, The Chrysanthemum and the Bat and the best-selling You Gotta Have Wa. He has published 20 other books in Japanese. He has written for Sports Illustrated, Time, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Japan Times as well as for Japanese publications, including Shukan Asahi and Bungei Shunju. He authored a manga series for Kodansha that sold 750,000 copies in graphic novel form. At present, he writes a weekly column for Yukan Fuji. He has lived in Japan on and off for the past 50 years, and is a graduate of Sophia University.



Takashi Kawachi, Regular member

TAKASHI KAWACHI joined the Mainichi Shimbun in 1970, after graduation from the Keio University faculty of Law and Politics. He began his career as a local reporter at the newspaper’s Chiba branch. He was transferred to the political department in 1975, where he covered the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Defense and the LDP. In 1988, he was assigned to Washington D.C as correspondent, where he covered the White House, the Department of Defense, two Presidential elections and the Gulf War. He was named foreign news editor in 1996 and editorial writer in 1998. In 2002, he became a Mainichi board director, manager of the Nagoya office, and later, head of the Tokyo digital media department. He is working as a freelance journalist since his resignation from the Mainichi in 2006.



Mehdi Bassiri, Associate member

MEHDI BASSIRI was a career diplomat with the Iranian foreign affairs ministry. He served at the Iranian Embassy in London England before his posting as first secretary to Iranian embassy in Tokyo in charge of consulate affairs and press relations. In 1980 he resigned his diplomatic career because of disagreements with the new Iranian revolutionary regime and established his own trading company. Immediately after becoming an FCCJ member, he became involved in the Club’s social activities, first joining the Associate Liaison Committee, and organizing an annual Persian New Year Night that drew capacity bookings to enjoy Iranian food and music. He has served as co-chair of the Membership Marketing committee, and chairman of the Wine Committee.  He has also been a long-time member of the Food and Beverage Committee, including serving as secretary, co-chair and chairman.

Mary Corbett, Professional Associate member

profile to be announced later

Abigail Leonard, Regular member

ABIGAIL LEONARD is a Tokyo-based journalist who covers Japanese politics and culture for print and broadcast news outlets in the US and Europe. She has written stories for the Washington Post, Newsweek and Vox; produced video pieces for the New York Times and radio stories for NPR, BBC and Deutsche Welle. Before
she moved to Japan, she wrote and produced long-form news documentary stories as a staff producer for PBS, ABC and Al Jazeera America and was also a lead writer for two news analysis programs: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.” Stories she's reported from Japan have earned a National Headliner Award and a James Beard Foundation Media Award Nomination. She was a 2011 East-West Center Japan Fellow and a 2010 UN Foundation Journalism Fellow.

Peter O'Connor, Regular member, Musashino University/Freelance

PETER O'CONNOR first came to Japan in 1976, when he wrote advertising copy for Dentsū at their old headquarters in Tsukiji. He first visited the FCCJ in 1977 when he was introduced to Murray Sayle. Forty years on, Peter is back at the Club as an historian of the transnational media of East Asia. In 2016, on the anniversary of the Ester Rising in Dublin, he published An tÉirí Amach sa Domhan Thoir: Mar a chonaic an tSeapáin, an tSín agus an Chóiré éirí amach na Cásca is a thionchar (Dublin, Coiscéim: 2016), on the influence of the Rising on independence movements in East Asia, especially Korea. His monograph, The English-language press networks of East Asia, 1918-45, was launched – with a jacket design by No.1 Shimbun’s Andrew Pothecary – at a Book Break in 2010. More recently, Peter has been setting up databases of historical Asian newspapers for a Netherlands publisher, editing a book on Korean Press history, and completing another on Sapajou, the legendary cartoonist of the North-China Daily News. His greatest hope for the Club is that his colleagues on the Board will see the light and install a full-size snooker table near the main bar.

Akihiko Tanabe, Associate member

profile to be announced later

Kanji from Regular Member

Gregory Clark, Freelance




Kanji from Associate Member

Vicki L. Beyer

Vicki L. Beyer is a dual national (Australia/USA) who has lived more than 30 years in Japan. She is admitted as a lawyer in the American state of Washington and worked for 17 years as an in-house lawyer in Tokyo, specializing in employment law and corporate governance. She is currently a Professor of Law at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law Business Law Department and also writes travel pieces and occasional commentary on Japanese culture and society on a free-lance basis.  She is also a "Cool Ota-ku Ambassador", a kind of community goodwill ambassador for Tokyo's Ota Ward.


Thomas Høy Davidsen, Jyllands-Posten




Air Jordan

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