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I RAN FOR THE presidency of the FCCJ for the first time in 2007. My friend Dan Sloan, then a TV correspondent for Thompson Reuters, nominated me. Even though I didn’t win, I was honored to be considered for the FCCJ’s presidency.


For most of the Club’s history, in all but two of our 71 years, the FCCJ’s President was elected by the Regular Members my peers. And for most of our history, club Presidents served a one-year term so that they could pursue an agenda voted for by the Club’s journalist members during their period of office.

That is not the case today.

Under the rules we have adopted, the Board elects the president. The Board can change presidents mid-year, as was done last year. In fact, the Board can change our presidents every week if it wished to do so. Thus, theoretically, we could change the president 52 times a year.

It has become so absurd that if a Board Member tries to quit the Board – for example if he or she wishes move overseas to take up a new job and can no longer perform his or her duties, or is quitting journalism and thus does not qualify to serve on the Board – they cannot do so, at least immediately. Under our Articles of Association, someone could die and we could not replace him or her until we hold a new election.

Of course we do have a system of elected “Reserve Members,” but in the last election, not only could we not secure enough candidates to fill these positions, we had a hard time just getting enough candidates to fill the the main Board positions at a minimum.

And, since all Board Members must be elected at a General Membership Meeting (GMM), we must get a quorum or the old Board continues on until the next GMM. And if we cannot secure a quorum at that next meeting, the old board continues on and so on…

Another concern is that Associate Members, although very valuable and important for the club, are not journalists, and yet have power to decide over journalistic matters. We need our Associate Members to provide us with business support, but not to involve themselves in issues related to journalism activities at the club, including in the selection of our journalists Members or presidents.

The current situation is not tenable. It was brought about, I hesitate to say, because we unwittingly adopted new Articles and - including new election rules - when we became a “koekishadan hojin. We attempted to adopt or adapt rules that did not fit our organization even though we are allowed to grandfather when electing the President and other officers directly.

As the year winds to a close, I have been giving a lot of thought to this problem and have consulted with several longtime Members.

The solution that I see is to amend our Bylaws and return to our old Bylaws - we need to have stability on the Board.

I will work with our kanjis, former kanjis and other senior Members to fix this problem by early next year. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, As-salamu alaykum, or whatever year-end greeting you prefer.

And to all in Japan, “Yoi otoshi wo.”

– Khaldon Azhari

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