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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.

I was an avid scuba diver about 25 years ago, but never got to dive the Reef. A reminder that if you have items in your life bucket list, don’t delay!

The news cycle is forcing a quick decompression from holiday mode, long road trips and days out on the ocean to issues related to Donald Trump, Pokemon GO, the attempted coup in Turkey and more. Our very own regular member Pio d’ Emilia has been covering the events in Turkey, the latest in his distinguished coverage of the issues confronting Europe as more refugees flee to the continent to escape war in the Middle East.

It seems I’ve walked right into a controversy over the election of the Tokyo governor and whether all the candidates had the opportunity to air their views to the media. This touches the FCCJ directly as the Professional Activities Committee has to weigh the same question – resulting in heated debate among journalist Members around the question of the “news value” of the candidates.

For those unfamiliar with the inner workings of a newsroom, this question of news value agitates journalists every day, often causing intense disagreement over what story gets prominence.

What do residents of the world’s most populated metropolitan area want from their leader? Well, according to a Kyodo News poll before the election, Tokyo residents have the same priorities as Japan’s electorate have been urging on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: one of them being the need to fix child care. If Mr. Abe really wants to slow the population decline and get more women back into the workforce, he needs to solve the shortage of child-care facilities.

Perhaps the government didn’t see this coming as they expected grandad and grandmum to step in. Whatever the cause of the oversight, urging Japanese couples to have more children while not providing adequate childcare options for working moms and dads is a serious disconnect. The Kyodo poll also had “medical and nursing care” high on the list of priorities, so it seems care facilities at both ends of the age spectrum should be prominent on the to-do list of the new governor. And then there is the preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics . . .

Finally, this magazine was to have a major feature on the October 2018 move of the FCCJ to a new location, with pictures and plans of the internal layout, including explanations of the different functions and services at the new Club. Unfortunately, deadlines forced us to delay the feature, but the good news is that it should be ready for the next issue. We are also planning another in a series of Town Hall meetings to give all staff and members an update on the Club move and seek feedback. Members will be getting an email with the date and time of that event.

Like journalist arguments about daily news priorities, the House & Property Committee doesn’t expect to satisfy all demands for what the new Club should contain, but it’s trying. As of writing, childcare facilities are not on the list. (Full disclosure, I’m the chair of the H&P committee.)

Have a good August.                                          

– Peter Langan

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