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Peter Langan 160px

 

 

Dear members,

I have less space this month, so forgive the bullet-point approach.
First off, a big thanks goes to Albert Siegel for his past year as editor of the Number 1 Shimbun. Albert will be taking on another role to help build and expand the FCCJ’s presence on social media. Greg Starr returns as editor of the Club magazine, to soon be joined by Andrew Pothecary as designer. Please join me in congratulating these three gentlemen and get in touch if you have any ideas for helping them in their respective roles.

 

 

As I’ve mentioned previously, we have advertising space available in the magazine — now 50 years young! — so any members wishing to take advantage or who know any- one who may be interested please contact the office. It’s a great way to support the Club.
Secondly, I’m trying to use this monthly letter to explain what’s been happening at Board meetings, hopefully to give you the members a better idea of the challenges and opportunities facing the Club.

The most recent Board meeting (as of press time) was on August 10, and while several Board members were on holiday, we had a quorum to proceed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the meeting was mostly occupied again with how to improve the overall financial position of the FCCJ. Treasurer Willem Kortekaas had prepared a report outlining details of a proposed campaign to seek donations from third parties. This would include corporations, individuals, foundations and so on.

According to FCCJ rules, such a donations campaign needs Board approval, which was given after discussions and a vote. Former general manager Seishi Yoda has been contracted by the Club to lead the drive to win donations from third parties.
During the discussion, Board members noted the importance of oversight of donations. It was pointed out that Club rules allow the Treasurer to approve any donation up to ¥500,000. Amounts larger than that require Board approval. The same rules state the Club “may not accept unlawful donations or those considered obstructive to execution of Club business, inappropriate under normal social conventions or, in particular, compromising to the integrity and independence of the Club.” At the end of any donation campaign, a report must be posted on the Club website disclosing the total amount received, its planned use, and other relevant information.

Still on finances, General Manager Marcus Fishenden provided an update on a number of matters, including the number and value of overdue and delinquent accounts. As of the Board meeting date, the total amounts added up to approximately ¥7 million. The Board was informed that the Club’s bylaws already allow for the suspension of certain membership privileges for delinquent accounts (three or more months overdue) but this has not been stringently enforced.
In an effort to reduce the size of unpaid accounts, a letter will be sent to all members to explain that the Club will commence stricter enforcement of the suspension of privileges when warranted. More detailed information will be outlined in that letter. In addition, the Board discussed a suggestion to post the names of Club members who are three months or more in arrears on a notice board in the Club premises. A motion was then proposed to authorize the FCCJ office to post these names in a suitable location within the Club.

However, this motion failed as the Board members present were evenly divided on whether this was the right approach at this time.
On other matters, Greg Starr has received approval from the Nieman Lab in the U.S. to republish some of their reports in the Number 1 Shimbun on developments in the journalism industry. Expect to see those and more like them in upcoming editions of the magazine.
Finally a reminder of some upcoming dates related to the closing of the current Club and the opening of the new facility:

• October 16—Take possession of new premises.
• October 21—Shinto ceremony for opening of new building (hosted by Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd.)
• October 26—Final Correspondents’ Lunch at current Club and closing of the facility.
• October 29—Soft opening for lunch at new Club.
• November 8—First commercial event at new Club.
• November 22—Gala Opening at new Club.

 

-Peter Langan

 

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