"The State of the Foreign Media in Japan,'' at two venues in Osaka and Kyoto on Sat. Jan. 25: Knowledge Capital in the Grand Front Bldg. at JR Osaka station at 2pm, and Kyoto International House at 6:30pm.
by Eric Johnston
Too often, FCCJ members forget the fourth letter in the acronym stands for ``Japan’’ not ``Tokyo.’’. It’s understandable, as virtually all Japan-based foreign correspondents are in Tokyo, as is, of course, FCCJ itself.
But in an effort to spread the word beyond the drawbridge of Old Edo, Lucy Birmingham will deliver the first public address ever in Kyoto by a sitting president on Saturday, January 25th. This is a welcome opportunity on the part of FCCJ to reach out to other parts of country where interest in how the outside world covers Japan is especially keen.
Her speech will be on the state of the foreign media in Japan and it’s being co-sponsored by the Kyoto City International Foundation, which is graciously providing the hall free of charge. In addition to introducing local foreign and Japanese residents to what the international media, and particularly FCCJ, is doing, the Kyoto event is an excellent opportunity for the Club to build its professional contacts in the ancient capital.
Why Kyoto? Several reasons. First, the city and prefecture have shown they are especially keen to work with FCCJ. Both the Kyoto mayor and governor have appeared at the Club in recent years. So, why not return the favor by showing FCCJ also has a strong interest in Kyoto?
Second, unlike Osaka or Kobe, Kyoto has a wide variety of foreign residents and Japanese with interest and experience in all media forms. In fact, when talking about foreign correspondents in Japan, it can be argued Kyoto, not Osaka or Yokohama, is truly Japan’s second city. Some of these people might, possibly, be interested in joining FCCJ.
Third, a visit by the FCCJ president means collecting lots of business cards and phone numbers from people in a city that is well-known to overseas editors and producers. These contacts can be passed off to FCCJ members in Tokyo traveling through the region and in desperate need of a last-minute local fixer, interpreter, photographer, video crew, or who are wondering who to turn to for gaining access to a temple, shrine, or a world-famous Kyoto-based firm specializing in some technology in high demand.