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Number 1 Shimbun


NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2017 (109)

Children categories

January 2017 (10)
January 2017



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January 2017

From the archives:
Trump makes a Tokyo visit

Voices of 2016
Quotes from Club speakers

2017: Something to Crow About
Correspondents' predictions for the year ahead

Profile: Abigail Leonard
In search of untold stories . . . by Tim Hornyak

A Change in the Air(waves)
New technologies and viewing habits . . . by Gavin Blair

Is the Government Blind to Japan's Impoverished?
Activists speak on the country's disadvantaged . . . by Julian Ryall

Vaccine Battle Stakes are High
A drug, news headlines and a libel lawsuit . . . by Justin McCurry

Someday Going Back Home

photographs of Syrian refugee children by Natsuki Yasuda

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

Club News

New Members/New books in the library


Nissan1 Ricoh NSK1
FCCJ - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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February 2017 (9)
February 2017



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February 2017

From the archives:
The Maestro with the Baton

Journalism Enters the Matrix
The new visual technologies . . . by Michael Penn

Difficult Conceptions
The pregnancy struggle in Japan . . . by Sonja Blaschke


Profile: Andy Sharp
Beating tight deadlines for Bloomberg  . . . by Gavin Blair

The "Kabuki" of Donald Trump and the Auto Industry
A look at the real story . . . by Roger Schreffler

Welcome to the Post-truth World
Fake news isn't the only problem . . . by Ayako Mie


Olympic Press Center Under Fire
Another 2020 mix-up . . . by Julian Ryall

Exhibition: Dojo Giga
Paintings by Bujinkan Dojo Soke, Masaaki Hatsumi

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

New Members/New books in the library


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March 2017 (8)
March 2017



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March 2017

From the archives:
Catalyst for Change
by Charles Pomeroy

Excerpts from Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan

Growing Pains: How Japan's Media Got Here and Why
by Koichi Nakano

Trials in the Shadows
by Lawrence Repeta and Yasuomi Sawa

Profile: Yoichi Yabe
A nautical photographer on his profession . . . by Tyler Rothmar

Women Power the Reconstruction of Kitakami
Some good news from Tohoku . . . by John R. Harris

Who was Kim Jong-nam?
by Justin McCurry

Exhibition: Fukushima Photographic Journey

Photographs by Bruce Osborne

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

New Members/New books in the library


Nissan1 Ricoh NSK1
FCCJ - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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May 2017 (10)
May 2017


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May 2017

Showa Memories

From the archives:
The Man with the Baton
by Charles Pomeroy

Trouble, Rubble, Toil and Bubble
The media fascination with the Showa era . . . by Mark Schreiber

What's in a Word
The meaning of sontaku . . . by Eiichiro Tokumoto


Profile: Bruce Osborn
by Abigail Leonard

The Emperor's Buon Viaggio
Traveling with the press pack . . . by Stefano Carrer

When We Targeted North Korea

The crisis in 1969 . . . by Todd Crowell

Exhibition: Made in Tokyo
Photographs by Carla Hernandez

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

Club News

New Members/New books in the library


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June 2017 (10)
June 2017



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June 2017

Water Control

From the archives:
Economic Reform Advocate
by Charles Pomeroy

Salute to the Gaijin Ghetto Rats
Memories from the old Nikkei Building residents . . . by Bradley K. Martin

Rebellion in the Valley of the Fireflies
Local protests have halted dam construction, for now . . . by Sonja Blaschke


Profile: Sarah Birke
by Julian Ryall

The Kyoto Classroom: Writers and the Kansai Aesthetic
A different perspective . . . by Eric Johnston

The New Japan Times

Reborn at 120 . . . by Gavin Blair

Exhibition: Being There
Photographs by Michael E.J. Stanley

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

Club News

New Members/New books in the library


Nissan1 Ricoh NSK1
FCCJ - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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July 2017 (9)
July 2017



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July 2017

From the archives:
Japan's Favorite Optimist
by Charles Pomeroy

Best Frenemies: Japan vs the UN
Government spokesmen challenge UN statements
. . . by David McNeill

"I Love Linda"
A post-war TV star was discovered at the Club tables . . . by Eiichiro Tokumoto


Profile: Kazunori Takada
Bloomberg's Tokyo bureau chief . . . by Justin McCurry

Scoop! Team Work
An Australian correspondent's China gambit . . . by Gregory Clark

A New Owner for the Japan Times
 by Tim Hornyak

Exhibition: Agion Oros Athos
Photographs by Hirohito Nakanishi

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

Club News

New Members/New books in the library


  Ricoh NSK1
FCCJ - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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August 2017 (9)
August 2017



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August 2017

From the archives:
The enduring politician and ambassador
by Charles Pomeroy

If . . .
Could the Vatican have helped stop Hiroshima
. . . by Eiichiro Tokumoto

When the journalist becomes the story
Some South Korean reporters had a tough decision . . . by Asger Rojle Christensen


Profile: Johann Fleuri
  . . . by Justin McCurry

The state of the fourth estate
A panel of journalists speak of the future . . . by Julian Ryall

Meet Watson, your non-human resources manager
 by Tim Hornyak

Exhibition: Temptation to express the sensation of riding waves
Photographs by NAKI

From the President    Khaldon Azhari

Club News

New Members/New books in the library


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FCCJ - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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New in the Library

New in the Library


A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte's Early Presidency
Nicole Curato (ed.)
Gift from Jera Lego

Getting Wet: Adventures in the Japanese Bath
Eric Talmadge
Kodansha International
Gift from Torin Boyd

World Press Photo 04
World Press Photo Foundation
Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Gift from Torin Boyd

World Press Photo 08
World Press Photo
Mets & Schilt Publishers
Gift from Torin Boyd

Before We Go to War with China and North Korea: The Unmastered Lessons of America's Wars against Confucian Asia, from Pearl Harbor to the Fall of Saigon
David Williams
Accent Press
Gift from David Williams

Tokyo Geek's Guide: Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols & More
Gianni Simone
Tuttle Publishing

The Abe Administration and the Rise of the Prime Ministerial Executive
Aurelia George Mulgan

Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence
Andrew Juniper
Tuttle Publishing

The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture
Mark Schilling

The Invitation-only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project
Robert S. Boynton
Atlantic Books

The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia
Kurt Campbell

Japan's Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the Twenty-First Century
Andrew L. Oros
Columbia University Press

Media no ogori
Masuhiko Hirobuchi
Gift from Masuhiko Hirobuchi

Nihonjin ga ikenai "Nihon ryodo": Hoppo ryodo Takeshima Senkaku Shoto Minamitorishima Okinotorishima jorikuki
Kouichi Yamamoto
Gift from Torin Boyd

Shashin de miru himekuri nichibei kaisen shusen
Kyodo Tsushinsha
Kiyoshi Numata (Kyodo News)


Club News

Club News

Regular Members
Lyu Shao Wei, China News Service
Asanobu Sato, The Yomiuri Shimbun

Professional/Journalist Associate Member
Emdad H. Sheikh, ATN Bangla Ltd.

Reinstatement (Associate)
David A. Collins, State Street Global Advisors

Associate Member
Fumihiko Yonezawa, J.P. Morgan


No1-2017-11 Lyu Shao Wei

Biography of Mr. Lyu Shao Wei,

I am a young journalist in China News Service. It is the second time that I come to Japan. I have a strong interest in Japan. Last year, I covered HongKong and religion in China mainly. In the next four years, I hope to know more about Japan and make more friends in FCCJ. The time in FCCJ will be an unforgettable memory for sure.


No1-2017-11 Sato Asanobu

Biography of Mr. Asanobu Sato,


Mr. Asanobu Sato is the Chief Manager at the International Affairs, The Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japanís leading daily newspapers. Previously, he was the Deputy Editor, International News Department, The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Mr. Sato joined The Yomiuri Shimbun in 1991 and worked for the International News Department, assigned to New Delhi in 2000-2003 and Jakarta in 2006-2009. He also worked as the editor of Fukushima Bureau in 2009-2011 and Toyama Bureau in 2011-2012. He earned his bachelor's degree in creative writing course from Waseda University in Tokyo.

FCCJ Press Tour to Imperial Hotel Tokyo

No1-2017-11 Spc Tour


FCCJ Press Tour to Imperial Hotel Tokyo

In collaboration with Keizai Koho Center, ten Club members toured the Imperial Hotel Tokyo on Oct. 12, the 150th anniversary of the birth of world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Regarded as a genius for his use of natural materials, Wright used unique Japanese oya stone in building the original Imperial, in 1923. His warm and elegant style, matching the syle of Japanese traditional hospitality, attracted foreign and domestic dignitaries and celebrities.

Media members learned more of the history of the hotel from a special exhibition in the main lobby showing, among other exhibits, examples of Wright’s designs of cutlery, tableware and furniture.

From there the group checked out the Old Imperial Bar and the Frank Lloyd Wright Suite. Despite the current campaign against smoking in public spaces, the Old Imperial Bar defiantly permits not only cigarette but also cigar smoking.

In the elegant, wood-paneled Wright Suite the media visitors were attracted by the spacious double ceiling. But any FCCJ members who might have considered making reservations had to entertain second thoughts after hearing the daily rate of US$7,000.

Art Exhibition by Baptiste Tavernier

No1-2017-11 Exhibition


Art Exhibition by Baptiste Tavernier

Nov. 4 - Dec. 1, 2017 / FCCJ Main Bar

Baptiste Tavernier is a French artist who has lived more than a decade in Japan, where he studied extensively traditional Japanese arts & crafts and martial arts. His works revolve around the theme of mazes and labyrinths. The labyrinth has served throughout centuries as a symbol marking the center of the world and a metaphor for the city. He has continued this tradition and builds upon it; looking down at the world’s great cities, finding inspiration in the logic of land and water and the maze-like patterns of human settlement. Although the labyrinths myths generally refer to long-lost civilizations, the world he depicts is often set in a distant future, a prospective result of the sum of modern society's choices.

Baptiste is trying to address the impact of human decisions on our lives and our environment. Social and political erring ways, careless urbanization at the expense of nature, blind consumerism, self-diluting wanderings into virtual spaces...
"I embody our delusions into metaphoric and sometimes satirical mazes. This might sound as a pessimistic vision of our world, but I see it in fact as a catharsis and a catalyst to a new consciousness about the environmental and moral catastrophic trajectories that leaders around the world now seem to follow."

Rambling Through North Korea

Rambling Through North Korea

by Todd Crowell

Brad Martin’s earlier book, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, was a fact-packed tome of nearly 900 pages of small type that could easily be described as THE book on North Korea. The question for Brad was what to do for an encore?

He could have written a sequel, bringing everyone up-to-date on the new fatherly leader, Kim Jong-un, and bringing the crisis on the Korean Peninsula up-to-the moment. But that presented a problem. In researching his critically acclaimed first book published by St. Martin’s Press in 2004, he had burned a lot of bridges and was not confident that he would be welcomed back.

There being no such censorship with the imagination, however, Brad decided to turn to fiction, drawing on his experiences from past visits, but introducing a whole swatch of new, colorful characters and adventures into the mixture.

Despite not being a sequel in the mode of Under the Loving Care, a fair amount of the story in Rambling Through North Korea takes place in North Korea with the kind of detail that only could come from someone who has actually been in Pyongyang and other North Korean spots several times.

There are, of course, other locales in the book, including Moscow, China and Tokyo, where the Foreign Correspondent’s Club makes a cameo appearance.

Brad’s Book Break on Oct. 25 was unusual to say the least with even the moderator being encouraged to participate in a short skit. The audience was also entertained by noted bluesman “Rambling” Steve Gardner (also a regular in the club’s Saturday Night Live music program, I’m told).

Rambling Steve figures prominently in the book as Heck Davis, described as a burn’t-out photojournalist turned blues singer. He gets the plot moving when while in North Korea he sees a reporter friend gunned down at the 38th Parallel.

Dodging attempts on his own life, the bourbon-drinking, Bible-quoting back-talking son of a white Mississippi father and a Korean mother searches for answers in the heart of darkness otherwise known as North Korea.

An unusual mixture of elements go into Nuclear Blues. Aside from the hard-driving, bourbon-drinking and Bible-thumping Davis, the reader is treated to evangelical Christianity where a purported evangelical university hides a missile factory – a kind of Graham Greene-meets-Tom Clancy tale. Also involved in various ways are Iranian militants and credit default swaps (CDS).

Credit Default Swaps?!?

How this figures in the plot is not easily understood, especially from somebody like me who could not define what a CDS is if his life depended on it. As Brad explained at his Book Break, a North Korean Provocation could manipulate the credit default swaps market.

So is this a financial thriller? Best as I can tell, Brad doesn’t set himself up as a expert on the subject, and few of us journos do outside the ranks of specialized reporters, and Brad’s bio doesn’t suggest finance as being one of his specialties.

There is also a religious angle to the book. Both Brad and Rambling Steve grew up the Southern Baptist church environment. So again, is Nuclear Blues really a religious thriller, a kind of Graham Green-meets-Tom Clancy story?

Of course, Brad has his own views on the latest crisis over North Korea’s nuclear/missile program with the best outcome transpiring if the North Koreans themselves world take down the regime.

One can trust the missile references in the book, as missile expert Lance Gatling, who appeared at one of the club’s recent professional luncheons, vetted the novel for accuracy.

Brad describes himself as a “happy self publisher.” Nuclear Blue can be purchased through Amazon from Dec. 31, although pre-orders are now being taken.

Whatever happened to Japan’s opposition?

Whatever happened to Japan’s opposition?

by Gebhard Hielscher

An opinion poll taken by Asahi Shimbun in early October showed a support rate of 35 percent for the Abe cabinet. That was an improvement by two percentage points for the cabinet. The previous poll taken by the same paper in early September had shown a support rate of only 33 percent, the lowest support rate for Abe’s third cabinet recorded by the Asahi.

Regarding support for Abe’s LDP, the October Asahi poll still showed only 33 percent. But that, too, was an improvement over the September poll figure of only 30 percent.

In the actual Lower House election on October 22 the LDP won 284 seats and thus managed to exactly maintain the number of seats it had before the dissolution of the House. But since the Lower House Membership was reduced from 475 to 465, the 284 seats for Abe’s LDP actually amounted to a small gain for Abe and his party, who now command a comfortable absolute majority in the Lower House.

Abe’s coalition partner, Komeito, secured 29 seats, a loss of 5, but together the two parties still have a two- thirds majority. So Abe is heading a very stable government.

It is Japan’s opposition camp that is in a mess. True, Edano’s newly founded Constitutional Democratic Party (Rikken Minshuto) achieved a startling success by jumping from 15 to 55 seats. But it got significant help from the Communists, who withdrew their candidates in the local districts (and therefore plummeted from previously 21 to only 12 seats in the new House).

Edano’s party is replacing the Minshinto (Democratic Progressive Party) in the Lower House; this party had been briefly dissolved but was soon reestablished by its members in the Upper House, provincial or local assemblies and the trade union movement. Gaining the support of <Rengo>, Japan’s largest trade union center, will be the key for Edano’s Constitutional Democrats to become an influential force in shaping Japan’s political future.

Tokyo Governor Koike’s venture into national politics turned out to be a disaster. The 50 seats her Party of Hope (Kibo no To) won in the Lower House elections made it look as if her party were the second strongest opposition force in the House. But Koike herself called it a “complete defeat.” On top of that, she had also seriously damaged her reputation as governor. It will take persistent efforts over a long period oft time and concentrating exclusively on Tokyo’s local affairs to reestablish herself as a respected governor.

Gebhard Hielscher, a freelance journalist from Germany, has been an FCCJ member since 1969.

North Korea’s Atomic Archipelago

North Korea’s Atomic Archipelago

by Todd Crowell

If the United States seriously considered pre-emptively striking North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile assets, it would have plenty of targets to choose from. Maybe too many. Times have changed since former president Bill Clinton contemplated a surgical strike against the Yongbyon nuclear complex to put out of commission its five-megawatt reactor, then the North’s only source for plutonium. That strike might have crippled the nuclear program. Now targeting would have to take into account nearly a dozen nuclear weapons/ballistic missile sites that can be identified from open sources alone. Here is an overview of North Korea’s known atomic archipelago.

Punggye Nuclear Weapons Test Site: All six of North Korea’s underground nuclear tests have taken place at this one site on the northeast coast. They range from the “fizzile” yield of the inaugural test in 2006 through five-to-20-kiloton Hiroshima-size yields to the Sept. 3 test, some estimates for which are as high as 300 kilotons. That would put it in thermonuclear range. There is nothing secret about the location and purpose of this test facility. Dedicated North Korea watchers carefully scrutinize commercially available satellite photos for signs that the North is preparing a test. The site’s further potential may be limited. There were reports that the latest test collapsed walls and inflicted other interior damage.

Chanjin Missile Factory: Located only a few kilometers from Pyongyang, Chanjin, also known as the Taesong Machine Factory, is North Korea’s prime factory for making sophisticated ballistic missile components such as guidance and control systems. It is thought to be the location of a famous picture of Kim Jong-un looking at a spherical object, presumed to be an atomic bomb and known to North Korea watchers as the “disco ball.” It also has apparatus for static testing of missile components. It is thought to be the location of a 2016 test of re-entry of nose cones of potential intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Sohae, in the extreme northwest not far from the Chinese border, has become the premier launch site for long-distance rockets. Its location on the west coast gives it a due south pathway that obviates the need to overfly mainland Japan (although its launches do violate Japanese airspace in the southern Ryukyu islands, if only momentarily) before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Previous launches from the east coast had to traverse Japan before splashing down in the northern Pacific, not far from Alaska. The first long-range test from this site in 2012 failed, but a second and third in late 2012 and 2016 successfully put satellites in orbit. While the Unha rocket is not thought to have been designed as a prototype of a weapon, a rocket that can fly 6,000 kilometers or so is considered a potential ICBM.

Kusong: North of Pyongyang and also about 30 kilometers from the Yongbyon nuclear facility, Kusong is a significant military-industrial site with numerous munitions plants. It was the site for many high-explosive tests in the years before the first nuclear weapons test. Precisely machined explosives are needed to detonate a plutonium bomb, and much of the work was and presumably still is done here. Lately, Kusong has also been increasingly used for ballistic missile tests. The February launch of the Pukgiksong-2 missile was from nearby Banghyun air base. Launching from the west coast and traversing the country gives the missile greater range without unnecessarily violating any neighbor’s air space.

Sinpo Naval Base: Merely as a large east coast naval base/shipyard, Sinpo would not likely be included in this list. But it is here that the North is trying to develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile. The new ballistic missile sub is based on early Soviet technology and would carry possibly two launch tubes through the sail, instead of rows of launch tubes behind the sail as is the case with most ballistic missile submarines. Pyongyang successfully tested a naval missile from a submarine in 2016. If further developed it would give North Korea a reasonably secure second-strike capability. Sinpo would make a relatively easy target. Apparently there are no underground submarine pens. “A strike on Sinpo would be a tactician’s dream,” said one analyst.

Musudan-ri: The main east coast launch site for long range missiles, this facility is also known as he Tongae Satellite Launching Ground. The mid-range Musudan missile gets its name from the launch site. The Musudan-ri site was used extensively for testing reverse-engineered Scud missiles, and in 1998 fired off the North’s first rocket meant to launch a satellite. More missile testing seems to be moving to the west coast, which provides a better trajectory for long-range launches.

Yongbyon: The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, north of Pyongyang, is the granddaddy of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It was the purported target of a surgical strike that the Clinton administration considered in 1994 but rejected in favor of diplomatic negotiations that resulted in an eight-year freeze on the operation of the reactor. With its associated laboratories, Yongbyon is the main source of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It is also the location of a sophisticated uranium enrichment plant with some 2,000 centrifuges, which probably gives Pyongyang’s weapon’s program a source of weapons’ grade uranium.

Pyongsan: While probably not a priority target, Pyongson is still an important link in the atomic archipelago. Located near one of the North’s sources of uranium, it has facilities for refining uranium ore and, more importantly, turning it into yellow cake. This is an important preliminary stage for making gaseous uranium that can be fed into uranium enrichment plant to operate nuclear rectors or produce weapons-grade uranium.

Factory 65: One of North Korea’s oldest weapons factories, close to the border with China, Factory 65 is not generally considered a missile base. Its main use in recent years has been converting Chinese and Japanese logging trucks into missile transporters. Even so, on July 28 the Hwasong-14 missile was launched from these premises. It is believed Pyongyang chose this site to demonstrate it can launch missiles from just about anywhere.

These are just the principal known locations. The South Korean government estimates that there are about 100 locations related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons/missile program. These include a breakdown of the many sites at Yongbyon plus uranium mines, laboratories and research facilities. The sites of many needed functions have yet to be located. They include centrifuge fabrication facilities, tritium production and uranium hexafloride production (necessary for enrichment purposes). Absolutely no public information exists as to the location of any of the roughly 25-60 nuclear weapons that North Korea may possess.

(This article originally appeared in Asia Times. Todd Crowell is a former United States Air Force intelligence officer.)

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan is looking to hire a General Manager


The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan is seeking a General Manager for its operations.

Qualifications required of successful candidates include but are not limited to:

  1. Working experience in the hospitality industry, in hotels and/or clubs.
  2. Management skills and experience in staff leadership to maintain smooth operations and membership satisfaction.
  3. Basic knowledge of finance and accounting.
  4. Familiarity with the media business, and also international experience would be a plus.
  5. Fluency in English and Japanese (including writing and reading)


The salary package will reflect the responsibility of the position and the experience of candidates. Additional benefits will be subject to negotiation.

The FCCJ is not able to sponsor a Japanese working visa for the successful candidate.

Please send your resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Deadline for the application is January 31, 2018.


New Members (December 2017)

New Members (December 2017)

Regular Member
Benjamin Tracy, CBS News

Reinstatement (Regular)
Peter Landers, The Wall Street Journal

Professional/Journalist Associate Member Chikako Hara, BBC Worldwide Japan Ltd.

Associate Members
Silas Chu, Hong Kong Trade Development Council Cheng Yen Chi, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners Inc.
Niels Meinke, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Naheel Wafa Dajany, All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
Naoya Hamada, Nippon Steel & Sumikin Technology Co., Ltd.
Kansho Hayashi, Hoto-Ji
Kazuya Isemura, Shueisha Inc.
Takashi Inamura, Kitakoudensha Corporation Yoshitake Matsumoto, Stratus Technologies Japan, Inc.
Toshiaki Mizutani, Innovation Inc.
Satoshi Nagasaka, Tsurumi University
Hidehisa Onda, Onda Planning & Execution Inc.
Isamu Otsuki, No affiliation
Kazunori Yoshino, Mitsuho Ltd.


No1-2017-12 Tracy Benjamin

Biogaraphy of Mr. Benjamin Tracy,

Ben Tracy is a CBS News foreign correspondent covering Asia and based in Beijing.

He reports for all CBS News platforms, including the "CBS Evening News," "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning."

Since joining CBS News in 2008, Tracy has covered a wide range of national and international stories including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio; massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada; the 2014 hostage crisis in Sydney Australia; the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, as well as the Royal Wedding of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton in London the same year. In 2016, Tracy traveled to Cuba to explore the increase in American tourism resulting from the lifting of travel restrictions. He also covered the historic drought in the Western United States, Hurricane Sandy which ravaged the east coast in 2012, and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson, Arizona.

Before joining CBS News, Tracy was a reporter for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, where he was a member of the station's investigative team, covering major stories, such as the methamphetamine epidemic and the collapse of the 35W bridge.

During that time, he also was a contributor to CBS News' "Saturday Early Show," to which he brought his signature "Good Question" segment, started at WCCO-TV, to a national audience.

Prior to joining WCCO-TV, Tracy worked as a reporter at WISN-TV Milwaukee and WBAY-TV Green Bay, Wisc.

He is the recipient of six Emmy Awards and two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards honoring excellence in broadcast news.

Tracy was born in St. Paul, Minn. He graduated from Marquette University with bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He also earned a master's degree in public service from Marquette University.



No1-2017-12 Landers Peter

Biography of Mr. Peter Landers,

Peter has 18 years of experience at The Wall Street Journal as a reporter, editor and bureau chief. He joined the Journal as a Tokyo correspondent in 1999 and moved to the U.S. in 2002, where he served as a page-one staff editor in New York and assistant bureau chief in Washington, among other positions. He assumed his present post in February 2014.

Peter is a graduate of Yale, where he studied classics and Japanese. With colleagues, he shared the National Press Foundation's online journalism award for coverage of the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling on the Affordable Care Act and the Society for American Business Writers and Editors explanatory journalism award for coverage of the Fukushima nuclear accident. He is fluent in Japanese and serves as a guest commentator on the TBS Saturday evening program "Shin Joho7days Newscaster."


Brewing Up Success: A Modern Woman in a Time-Honored Occupation


No1-2017-12 Midori Article


Brewing Up Success: A Modern Woman in a Time-Honored Occupation

By Vicki L. Beyer

Even as a primary school student, Midori Okazaki knew that her future lay in sake brewing. To some degree, her view was influenced by the fact that her father operated a sakagura – sake brewery – in Nagano’s Ueda City that had been in her family since 1665. More importantly, though, Midori is passionate about the craft.

Now in her early forties, Midori is the youngest of three girls and has no brothers. Once her sisters had chosen other livelihoods, Midori was the only one left to take up the family business, Okazaki Brewing, producing sake branded Shinshu Kirei or just Kirei. She could have followed the traditional route of marrying a man who was prepared to take over the family business, but instead, she decided she would become the 12th Okazaki to head Okazaki Brewing. And she took it a step further by deciding she wouldn’t stick to the business side but would learn sake brewing.

Midori’s journey to learn sake-making began at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, where she majored in fermentation science. She says she was a diligent student, working hard to learn the theoretical science underlying sake production. At the same time, it was through the university tennis club that she met Ken-ichi, who is now her husband and business partner.

After graduation, Midori gained some practical experience in the industry by working for a major brewer for seven years before returning to Ueda to apprentice under a toji (master brewer). He told her she had just four years to learn everything necessary to take over – as he was planning to retire. Ordinarily an apprenticeship can take as long as 10 years

Up to the end of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for a toji to oversee sake production for multiple local micro-breweries, acting as a so-called migrant brewer. Midori’s family had been engaging a toji in that way for many years. That is, they owned and operated the brewery, but did not oversee the sake production themselves. These days those migrant brewers who are left are getting older and looking to retire, so it was lucky for everyone when Midori’s chance for apprenticeship arose.

A female toji is unusual, even in these modern times. There are only about two dozen properly qualified female toji across the entire country. Forty years ago there were none.

Among the historical reasons why women have not been toji is the traditional belief that it is bad luck for a woman to even enter some parts of a sake brewery. Women were regarded as unclean and therefore potential contaminants, particularly during the crucial early stages of the fermentation process. (Even men working in a sakagura are to refrain from eating fermented foods such as natto and yoghurt during this period of the brewing process, lest contamination occur.) Back when the science of sake production was not as well understood, there was also a superstition that any woman entering the brewery would arouse the jealousy of the goddess of sake, who would, in her ire, spoil the brew.

Fortunately, those notions haven’t interfered with Midori's work. She says she has not encountered any male resistance to her role as toji. She attributes this to everyone’s knowledge of the Okazaki Brewery’s long history and the fact that she was taking over from her father and keeping the business in the family. The self-confidence she exudes surely also contributed.
Once a year Midori looks forward to the camaraderie of the annual meeting of the Kura Josei no Kai, a gathering of female toji and other women who work in or around sake production. The women are able to use their time together to air problems and offer each other tips and advice on everything from koji-kin mold production to raising teen-agers.

The most intense period of sake brewing takes place over the winter months, beginning from the end of October. During this period, the process of preparing the rice and causing it to mold so that it will ferment when mixed with water and yeast starter involves hard physical labor and working long and odd hours to tend to the mixture. Says Midori, “it’s almost like looking after a newborn infant.”

She should know. Midori is the mother of two daughters and a son. Her older daughter was born during her apprenticeship period 16 years ago. Midori considers herself lucky that the smells generated during the brewing process never made her feel unwell during her pregnancies.

The fact that the family home is “above the store,” on the same site as the brewery, helps with the long hours as Midori can more easily tend to the infant sake and still get some sleep.

During the busy brewing season, Midori is aided by her husband and two men who work at a local winery during the summer season but are free to work for her during the winter months. The four of them produce 250 koku (4,500 liters) of sake in 15 varieties. There have been times in the brewery’s history when its production was twice this amount, but Midori feels this is enough for now.

Shinshu Kirei is a well-regarded sake, having achieved first place in the Kanto Shin-etsu Tax Bureau Liquor Review Board 2015 rankings, underscoring the value of focusing on quality over quantity.

The brewery is situated in an increasingly trendy tourist destination known as Yanagi-cho, not far from Ueda Castle Park and about a 15-minute walk from Ueda Station. Midori’s father, now retired, was among the local businesspersons who pushed for tourism development of Yanagi-cho about 10 years ago, reasoning that its picturesque Edo period buildings and locally-crafted products would be an attraction. They were not wrong. While Okazaki Brewery makes sake at one end of the lane, soy sauce and miso paste are produced at the other, and there are bakeries, shops and other eateries in between.

Okazaki Brewery did not originally engage in retail sales, but in keeping with the development of Yanagi-cho the company has opened a small boutique shop at the front of the brewery where it offers tastings and sells its own sake as well as other locally produced sake and comestibles. Midori is very “at home” standing behind the counter pouring into a tasting cup while explaining the features of the particular variety.

Since the brewery has occupied this same location since 1665, Midori and her family have a strong sense of history, so they also have antique brewing equipment and a huge collection of Edo-period Hina dolls on display for visitors to enjoy. Unfortunately, they do not allow visitors to enter the brewery itself.

Midori and her husband share the responsibility for the operation of Okazaki Brewery, with Midori overseeing production while Ken-ichi manages the sales side. It's a good way to work, and it works well for them. Ken-ichi is a “city boy” who took the Okazaki family name and moved to Ueda from Tokyo when they married. A former employee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, he seems to have easily made the adjustment to a provincial lifestyle.

Will her children follow in her footsteps? Although there is a glimmer of hope in her voice, tempered as it is with knowledge of the responsibility of taking up such a venerable family business, Midori says it’s too early to say what professions her children will chose.

Midori says there's been no particular crisis or problems during her tenure as toji, but there are the inevitable daily struggles of running a small family business. In that regard, even though she works in a time-honored occupation, Midori models the kind of modern working woman and modern working mother that the Abe government claims to want more of. She capably runs her business – traditional production that requires a great deal of care and craftsmanship – while, equally capably, raising her family. But she doesn't have to do any of it alone; rather she leverages a great partnership with her supportive husband and the help from others in her family. Isn't that modernity itself?


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