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SOME SHARE THE VIEW that Japan is finished as an international news hub – and believe that the age of foreign correspondents is part of the past as well. I disagree.

This country remains a major democratic nation and a key country in world affairs and global power games. It has an East Asian neighbor that seems intent on becoming a nuclear power. For journalists living in Japan, it’s enough to keep us working extensively – and luckily in a free environment.

From a media perspective, Japan is the source of much of the news from Asia. The Japanese economy is still the third largest in the world, with a giant financial market that keeps the newsrooms busy 24/7.

In terms of technology, this country is far out in front in many areas of expertise, and Japanese products continue to dazzle and amaze.

Because of Japan’s position as a diplomatic leader leveraging her unique position both as the only nation to have experienced a nuclear bomb attack and as a major provider of development assistance, those of us in Tokyo often see the flags of another country gracing the streets of downtown Tokyo when world leaders come to visit.

Ministers, CEOs and VIPs from all over the world come to Tokyo year-round, in all seasons. International conferences regularly invite world-class speakers, and celebrities and sport stars are often gold mines of quotes for journalists stationed in Japan, especially when they come to talk at the FCCJ.

A number of unfortunate natural disasters have also attracted the world’s attention, and required some extensive reporting.

At the heart of all of that, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan retains its place as the international press club in Japan, a location where news is still made and reported.

After 71 years of operation, the long tradition is being proudly upheld, and the Club – and our foreign correspondent members – is still alive and kicking, determined to help get the news out.

I believe our best days are ahead of us, and with pride and confidence, I would
like to extend my New Years’ greetings by saying, “When you come to the FCCJ, you will feel the buzz of news-making at work and at play.”

Happy New Year!

– Khaldon Azhari

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