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DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST, I received more than 2,000 FCCJ president-related e-mails sent to my computer, another 500 to my mobile phone and several dozen text messages, many of which required an immediate response, sometimes after midnight.

These correspondences involved club business related to the FCCJ's food and beverage operation, architect designs, human resource concerns such as salaries, staff changes, promotions and contracts, and consultations with lawyers. I understand this is all part of the job of being the FCCJ's president, but it is also, as presidents in the past have said, virtually a full-time job.

I am sure this was not in the minds of the FCCJ's founding fathers in 1945 when they established the club. But over the years, the club expanded to the point where the president and boards of directors have to deal with running the business of a mid-sized company.

Of course, we have professional staff, member-advisors from the business community, outside auditors – even lawyers – to assist us, but at the end of the day, most of us are journalists trying to chase news and make a living from it.
We expect this overflow of messages to our computers and phones will continue and we could be overloaded with issues to tackle.

However, so far everything is proceeding smoothly and my Board of Directors intend to iron out any problems swiftly, so continue giving us your feedback so we can respond to your needs.

Another topic of interest: The club’s magazine, the Number 1 Shimbun, is ready to enter a new stage. In the coming months, we will be looking at ways to revamp and modernize our in-house mouthpiece. Not only will we improve the print edition, we will also upgrade the website version. As the FCCJ is a journalists’ club, look for more focus on journalist issues.

The Public Relations Committee, our newest committee, led by former President Dan Sloan, will hold its inaugural meeting in September. The main mission from my perspective is to promote the club and position us for the onslaught of media attention as Tokyo gets ready for the Olympic Games in 2020.

In the midst of these new developments, we still face an old issue: rumors. It is my belief the best way to deal with rumors is to be transparent.
I am reminded of a lesson I learned from one of the top former Japan’s Foreign Ministry spokesmen, Mr. Sadaaki Numata. I asked him once at a press conference about Japan's reaction to rumors related to its position on a certain issue. He replied, smiling, “You answered your own question … they are merely rumors.”

There will always be rumors in the FCCJ, but your president and board will try to minimize them by following our profession's mission: Seek and report the truth.

If you have a question, ask the board and we’ll respond. Or write to the Number 1 Shimbun. It may mean more e-mails and phone calls for all of us, but that’s part of the volunteer job.

 

– Khaldon Azhari

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