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2015BODKakuchi

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan’s 70th anniversary celebration was a glittering event, graced by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado.

The lobby of the ballroom in the newly renovated Palace Hotel, selected for the occasion, featured a display of the Club’s history – large black-and-white photos from its 1945 birth in post-World War II Tokyo under the U.S. Occupation led by General MacArthur. The journalists who covered that tumultuous period marked Japan’s introduction to democracy along with its embrace of a free media. Almost 450 guests, representing top media, diplomatic and business circles, participated. Dressed in black tie and pearl necklaces, guests sipped champagne, won handsome raffle prizes and danced the night away.

My toast paid tribute to the Club’s founders – those unforgettable foreign correspondents who recorded the early breathtaking events in Japan as the country returned to international society. Those journalists plugged away at typewriters and captured in photo and film the historic changes. Some lost their lives during the Korean War, but such was their dedication and fearless commitment to journalism.

Seventy years later, the current generation who now dispatch the news from an affluent and peaceful Japan may not face similar dangers. Yet the vision remains the same. The FCCJ continues to be a place where speakers from a wide array of backgrounds tell us their stories because of our commitment to report the truth to the world.

On a different note, Members must be curious about the progress of the board this past month. The good news is that we are putting the finishing touches on ending two lawsuits that have been draining the FCCJ’s coffers for the past few years. The prime aim for these key breakthroughs is to bring the dealing with Club issues back inside the Club. I believe the time has come for the Club to be a place where members communicate with those they may not agree with. One of the most encouraging scenes towards this direction is to see committees inviting members who have long been isolated to work together. Let’s not forget the reason we joined the FCCJ is to make it a great place to belong.

Finally, let me share with you my last moments of the anniversary night. Jumping into a taxi along with some other board members, I returned to the 20th floor to have a last toast. As we walked into the room we met friends who were already celebrating at the round tables. As we joined them and raised our glasses to the future of the FCCJ, it felt right to be gathering at a place where journalists have long congregated while doing their jobs. It was the end of a perfect evening!

– Suvendrini Kakuchi

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