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01 Peter-Langan 160




I was beating a drum in the last president’s message about getting Regular Members to vote in the General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. And you may well have seen some of the creative posters positioned around the Club in the first half of March to help the effort. (Thank you, Marcus.)

New Arrivals

A different drumbeat this month, as happy to report we well achieved the quorum number at the GMM. The magic figure needed was 131 Regular Members and with attendees, absentee ballots, and proxies on the night we reached 179.

For those who like details, here they are:

  • Regular Members in Attendance: 15
  • Absentee Ballots Submitted: 151
  • Proxies Submitted: 13 (For Chairperson: 12, Individual: 1)
  • Total: 179
  • Quorum threshold: 131 (based on 261 valid Regular Members)
  • Majority vote: 66

A large Thank You to all who got involved. (And, of course, a reminder that we get to do it all over again for the GMM in June!) For those who couldn’t attend the March 20 meeting you missed a good feast and a Q&A on topics from PAC and the No1 Shimbun to the donation drive and membership. The last item on that list was certainly the focus. For those unaware, dues paid by members make up 90% of the FCCJ’s revenue so attracting more members to the new Club is the clear priority for 2019.

As the meeting started, Treasurer Willem Kortekaas had technical problems with his presentation so we killed some time with a few jokes that brought a mixture of giggles and groans. (I’ve read several books on Donald Trump, but they all end at chapter 11.)

I thought it might be a good idea to introduce all future GMMs with a round of jokes from the Board and the audience. After all, we are living on a rock with a molten core, hurtling through space at approximately 50,000 miles and hour and despite a few thousand years of investigation, we haven’t been able to confirm if anyone is actually in charge; surely a situation that calls for a belly laugh.
With tech problem fixed, the Treasurer gave a briefing on the Club’s finances, specifically the proposed FY2019 budget and business plan. The budget assumed a net income of 6.3 million yen for the year based on approval of motions for a phased increase in initiation fees for Associate Members and a Relocation Levy. (The latter is not new, but the extension of the current Special Levy with a different name, as explained below.) Both motions did pass, which was fortunate as without them, the budget assumption would have been a net loss of 27.9 million yen. The budget and business plan were also approved. The intent of the Relocation Levy is to build the Club’s financial reserves to cover any future relocation, perhaps decades from now. This is clearly a most conservative measure but in answering a question from the floor, it was explained that we couldn’t assume our landlord will be offering new premises again 30 years hence. The Treasurer said funds from this Relocation Levy would be ring-fenced in a bank account for the purpose.

A separate notice will be available explaining all the motions presented at the GMM and the voting breakdown.

I mentioned the new Journalism Learning Labs initiative at the GMM, another means of bringing younger journalists into the FCCJ.
First Vice-President Abby Leonard is the driving force behind this and we had a full house for the first event on March 13.

The speaker was our very own Ken Moritsugu, the news director for Japan and the Koreas at the Associated Press. Ken’s topic was covering Japanese news for an overseas readership. The event was informal as intended and Ken explained he wanted to provide a Q&A of benefit to the audience rather than a lecture. This letter is also an opportunity to wish Ken every success in his broader role at AP, which will see him soon move to Beijing. Enjoy, Ken and come back soon.

The Learning Labs for April and May include how to make the best use of Google News Tools for researching stories, fact-checking and more; and guidelines on legal implications for reporting in Japan and explaining the justice system. We will probably open them up to larger numbers, we capped the first at 30 and had a waiting list. Meantime, in the coming weeks you should be seeing the return of some old favorites on the walls of the new Club, including the past president snapshots with Club speakers and the mugshots of Regular Members, hopefully all cleaned up and looking refreshed.

Finally, we will be re-hanging the calligraphy work “Blessing” by Shinoda Toko in a pride of place where the Club’s two main corridors intersect.

The work has been lovingly restored by the Tolman Collection, whose founder Norman Tolman is a long-time Associate Member at the Club. Thank you Norman. On that note, I’ll finish here and look forward to seeing you in the Club.

Best regards,

Peter Langan



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