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2015BODKakuchi

MAY MARKS THE END of this Board’s tenure and my stint as your FCCJ president.

We’ll wrap up our year in early June with a final meeting, followed by elections and the handover to the new officers.

2015BODKakuchi

THE MONTH OF APRIL heralds spring and a new fiscal year in Japan. The positive sentiment of this season represents the mood in the FCCJ following the March General Membership Meeting, when Members overwhelmingly voted to approve the Board’s settlement ending the four-year-long lawsuit by union staff members.

2015BODKakuchi

LET ME START OFF my column this month with an important reminder for Regular Members. The next General Membership Meeting, a crucial event for Club business, has been scheduled for March 8.

2015BODKakuchi

THE FCCJ GREETED 2016 with our traditional Hacks and Flacks Party, bringing correspondents and journalists together with foreign and Japanese dignitaries, business figures and PR managers who were invited to support better networking and sharing of information.

2015BODKakuchi

 

WISHING ALL MEMBERS A Wonderful New Monkey Year – the best in health, wealth and may all your dreams come true!

2015BODKakuchi

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan’s 70th anniversary celebration was a glittering event, graced by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado.

2015BODKakuchi

 

BEING ELECTED PRESIDENT OF the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on its 70th anniversary is a tremendous honor and a landmark in my career and personal life.

2015BODSimms

Volunteers.

Look at almost any aspect of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan and these are the people that are almost always behind it.

EVERYONE WHO EXPERIENCED 3/11, including those covering the disaster and its aftermath or just watching the 24/7 coverage, has been deeply affected by it.

 

AFTER THE RECENT ELECTION, we appear to have a strong consensus that the Club needs to move forward in our 70th anniversary year.

My two consecutive years as FCCJ president have come to a close, and this will be my last message. While the challenges have been overwhelming at times, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served the Club as president.

IT WAS A GREAT pleasure to see the many Associate Members at their General Meeting on April 13. One 40-year Member quietly told me that it was his first time to attend. Clearly, interest has increased now that Associates are finally able to decide Club policy.

Last month saw a remarkable flourish of activity at the FCCJ. After nine months of negotiations, we finally inked an agreement with Mitsubishi Estate to move four blocks into a new building complex in the central Marunouchi district which will be ready in 2018.

Four years will soon have passed since the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima disaster. The high school boy I profiled in my book on the disaster will be graduating from university this month.

LAST MONTH’S CHARLIE HEBDO slayings and the murder of the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto by Islamic State spotlighted again the increasing deadly risks facing journalists today.

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明けましておめでとうございます。本年もよろしくお願いいたします。 Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2015 in this Year of the Sheep (with Goats and Rams also qualifying.)

SIX MONTHS INTO OUR financial year, I’m very pleased to report good news: we are getting stronger, with our finances well ahead of budget.

SO CLOSE, BUT SO far. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may seem a distant six years away, but they’re already looming close as organizing committees congregate, Olympic and Paralympic athletes visit from abroad, and marketing/ad agencies gear up to draw more attention to Tokyo than the city has seen since 1964.

Freedom of expression is more important than ever as political tensions, armed conflicts, government restrictions and secrecy increase worldwide.

Tsukimi moon viewing parties this month will get a special treat: a perigree “supermoon” on Sept. 9, along with a Perseid meteor shower of “shooting stars.”

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