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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.

There is a skyscraper of work ahead, but this a good chance to raise a virtual toast to our hard-working House & Property Committee that is leading the charge.

The March 5 General Membership Meeting (GMM), which included voting on the 2015 budget, was our first as a public interest association (koeki shadan hojin). The meeting went remarkably well, thanks to the newly required pre-meeting preparations.

The budget and a ¥1,000/month special levy were both passed by a large majority. The levy will continue until March 2019, and is to be used for the Club move, including but not limited to purchasing fixtures, covering associated legal and document fees, and the repair and maintenance of existing facilities.

The board thanks everyone who participated in the GMM by attendance, absentee vote or proxy. It’s crucial for the Club’s success to get Regular (journalist) Member participation at both the March GMM and the Annual General Membership Meeting (AGMM) in June, when we have our Board of Directors elections. It’s your chance to be involved in improvements to the Club!

Last month we also offered an extraordinary number and variety of press conferences and events focused on the fourth anniversary of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku disaster. Many committees were involved, including the “new” Film Committee (formerly the Movie Committee), the Library Committee, the Exhibition Committee and, of course, the PAC Committee.

For the 20-year anniversary of the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subways, PAC organized a moving presser with survivor and documentary filmmaker Atsushi Sakihara. He stressed the importance of not forgetting the lessons learned, a reminder for us not to ignore the small memorial plate in the underground passageway at Kasumigaseki Station, not far from the Club. We need such regular reminders of the dangers of brainwashing, propaganda and chemical terrorism.

Prominent PAC speakers also included World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Tokyo’s Shibuya Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara shared the ward’s pioneering proposal to offer marriage certificates for same-sex couples.

The Food & Beverage Committee offered a delightful selection of wine, shochu and saké tastings throughout the month. And last but not least, the Entertainment Committee organized Saturday Night Live performances over all four weekends.

This month, don’t miss our two Asa-kai morning talks on Tues. 7, with Mr. Ryuta Shiiki, Founder & CEO of animation and entertainment company DLE, Inc.; and Tues. 21 with the brilliant and beautiful artist/designer Sputniko!, assistant professor at MIT Media Lab. Another highlight will be Book Break on Mon. 20 featuring award-winning author and translator Roger Pulvers.  

Rather than being T.S. Eliot’s “the cruellest month,” I hope the cherry blossoms and Bacchus help inspire a delightful April for everyone.

   Lucy Birmingham

 

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