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BIT RUSHED WITH THE column this month as I’m writing right after a bus trip from Narita and landing back in Japan from a trip to Australia.

For those who have heard the stories of warmer oceans bleaching the Great Barrier Reef, I’m afraid that based on what I saw during a few scuba dives the stories seem to have some truth to them.

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WHILE THIS IS MY first column for the Number 1 Shimbun since becoming president of the FCCJ on June 15, I would like to pick up where my predecessor Suvendrini Kakuchi left off in her last column.



I PEN THIS LAST column as president with a few important lessons for the new Board. The bottom line is that the FCCJ is an exceptional organization, and my honest opinion is that the challenges can be handled with the talent we have onboard.



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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




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.




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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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