FELLOW FCCJ MEMBERS,
Your new Board has been busy forming committees to tackle a wide range of key issues. Opposite you will find a list of our new committee chairs. Please give these volunteers your support and contact me or the relevant chairs if you would like to volunteer.
Next month I want to tell you more about our new vision for No. 1 Shimbun and plans for a comprehensive FCCJ communications strategy. But first let me dispense with a needless distraction.
The July issue of this magazine included a letter from Anthony Rowley, an unsuccessful candidate in the recent FCCJ election, complaining that his demand for a recount of the ballots “was flatly rejected, with no reason being given.”
In fact, Rowley and his cohort gave no plausible reason to back their demand for a recount.
In any democratic election where candidates win by only a few votes, it is natural to demand a recount. But in our recent election, many of the successful candidates won by margins of two or three to one.
With such margins, it is hard to imagine a scenario whereby the intention of voters was misinterpreted. So this demand for a recount can only be interpreted as an allegation of wholesale electoral fraud on the part of those counting the ballots.
Five people participated in counting the ballots. The Election Committee included three respected Regular members: Tsukasa Furukawa, Catherine Makino and Henry Scott Stokes. Two staff members also participated: Wayne Hunter and Hitoshi Kubo.
Rowley’s demand for a recount amounts to a gross slander of these people; one for which he should apologize.
There was nothing out of the ordinary in the results. In June 2010, 224 out of 318 eligible voters cast ballots. In 2009, 211 of 346 voted. In 2008, 195 of 361 voted. So there can be no suggestion that ballot boxes were “stuffed.”
What was cited as suspicious was that many successful candidates received a similar number of votes – between 150 and 160 each. Behind this Rowley sees a sinister “voting machine.” This is utterly risible.
Two distinct tendencies contended in the recent election, with people working together on both sides. The group around my opponent for president was no less coordinated than those who supported me.
There was nothing sinister in this and no apologies need be made. For those of us who were elected, the greatest fear was that we would have to endure a year of animosity and wasted time serving on the kind of contentious Board this Club has had too often in recent years. We wanted to serve on a team that could work together.
So, yes, several of us worked together, each canvassing 30 or so voters. It would have been impossible for each of us to contact all 318 electors – and annoying to those receiving calls. All we did was to state our case; each voter was free to make up his or her own mind.
With bizarrely contorted logic, however, Rowley contends that the “best interests of democracy” have not been served.
To that, all I can say is that Mr. Rowley’s own words confirm the wisdom of the FCCJ electorate.
This year we have a very capable, enthusiastic and collegial Board. We will do our best to ensure a sustainable future for our Club.