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Number 1 Shimbun


NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2020 (28)

Lens craft



Year of the Rat
A man wearing a costume of LED lights during the countdown event at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing on Dec. 31, 2019.
by Tomohiro Ohsumi



Patroling the seas
Anti-war protesters gathered near the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo to protest the decision to dispatch a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship to the Gulf of Oman in response to the Trump administration’s proposal for a “Marine Security Volunteer Coalition” in the Strait of Hormuz.
by Richard Atrero de Guzman/ Sipa USA



Preparing the seas
World Sailing organised tests of the Olympic sailing venue, courses (Sagami Bay off Enoshima), facilities, management, media operations, and volunteers last summer in preparation for this summer’s start. 
by Yoichi Yabe



Provisions from the seas
Kiyoshi Kimura, president of sushi restaurant chain Sushizanmai, displays the 276kg bluefin tuna with a price of ¥193 million at his main restaurant in Tokyo, Jan. 5. 
by Yoshikazu Tsuno


New in the Library

Japanese Politics – One Politician’s Perspective: From the DPJ administration to the LDP-KOMEITO ruling coalition (2010-2019)
Yuzuru Takeuchi

“Abe Shinzo” Daikenkyu
Isoko Mochizuki; Yoshiro Sasaki and others
KK Bestsellers
Gift from Isoko Mochizuki

Japan’s Infamous Unit 731: Firsthand Accounts of Japan’s Wartime Human Experimentation Program
Hal Gold; foreword by Yuma Totani
Tuttle Publishing

Seiji no Riarizumu: Abe Seiken no Yukue
政治のリアリズム : 安倍政権の行方
Takao Toshikawa
Gift from Takao Toshikawa

Jimaku no Naka ni Jinsei
Natsuko Toda
Gift from Natsuko Toda

In Memoriam

The FCCJ sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the late DON G. HOUK, who passed away as a result of a traffic accident in central Tokyo on Jan. 18. He was 87.
Don Houk was one of the oldest Associate Members having joined the Club in 1978. He was a popular and regular fixture of the open table.
He will be sorely missed.

New Members


Thomas Hahn was born in Munich, Germany in 1972 and spent his youth there. After serving as a hospital nurse, he studied drama, history and communication science at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and at the University of Kent in the UK and he graduated with a Master’s degree in 1998. During his studies he worked as a freelancer for the sports desk of Süddeutsche Zeitung and for its local branch Starnberger Neueste Nachrichten. Since 1999 he has been an editor at Süddeutsche Zeitung, first working at the sports desk, covering several Olympic Games and world championships in athletics and nordic skiing. In 2014 he moved to Hamburg to work as a political correspondent for northern Germany. Then, in September 2019, he became correspondent for Japan and Korea based in Tokyo.

Alec Jordan, Custom Media K.K.

Hiromitsu Ida, Chuokoron-Shinsha Inc.

Masahiko Murayama, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F, E & T Holdings, Ltd.
Hajime Saito, Kandenko
Kiyoyuki Tsujimura, Carpediem, Inc.
Hirotake Yajima, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners Inc.

Kenichi Suzuki, Democratic Party for The People

Increase in reciprocal clubs


The FCCJ has been working to increase reciprocal club arrangements with press clubs, city clubs, and athletic clubs around the world. For visitors to Japan during the 2020 Olympics, FCCJ’s facilities and location are very attractive. For FCCJ members, the availability of a club away from home when traveling overseas is beneficial. So far, several clubs have responded favorably: Frontline Club (London), Geneva Press Club, Jerusalem Press Club, National Press Club of New Zealand (Wellington), and the Press Club de France (Paris). Negotiations are underway with press clubs in Strasbourg, Angkor, Jakarta, Singapore, and Taipei. Many other clubs will be invited in coming weeks; the FCCJ web site will have the updated list of reciprocal clubs.

New Local Membership Campaign

Save ¥100,000s!

For a limited period in 2020, the FCCJ will be offering very attractive special discounts on new individual Associate Members working in our home, the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building, as well as in the neighboring
Meiji Life Insurance, Marunouchi Park, and Shin-Tokyo buildings.

New individual applicants for Associate Membership will receive a one-time discount on the existing ¥400,000 joining fee. With the one-time discount, the joining fee would be ¥200,000 for those over 40 and ¥100,000 for those between the ages of 35 to 40. Monthly dues of ¥17,500 and the relocation levy of ¥1,000 for Associates over 35 years of age will remain unchanged.

Existing members who introduce an accepted Associate applicant who joins the FCCJ will receive a credit of up to ¥25,000.

Press Tour to MoD Ichigaya HQ


The press tour group in front of utility helicopter UH-1H , “Hiyodori”.


The Special Projects Committee arranged a press tour to the Ministry of Defense Ichigaya headquarters on Jan. 9. Seven participants, all regular members, took part. The highlight of the tour was the historic Ichigaya Memorial Hall. Constructed for Army Cadet School in 1937, and used for the Tokyo War Crimes Trial from 1946, it provided the backdrop for novelist Yukio Mishima, who made his last speech on the front balcony before committing suicide Nov. 25, 1970.

FCCJ Exhibition: Mic Check Photos by Rob Gerhardt


Exhibition details

In late 2014, protesters began gathering in New York City over the exoneration of the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Shortly afterward, a second Grand Jury considering the death of Eric Garner led to the same outcome. Protesters continued to take to the streets for a long litany of names and the protests also included events to remember those from earlier incidents, such as Trayvon Martin and Amadou Diallo.

New York never saw scenes like those that played out in Ferguson or Baltimore. The police never used tear gas, heavily armored police vehicles never rolled through the streets, and people were not confronted by police with weapons drawn who looked more like soldiers than cops. But there were masses of protestors. There were times traffic was blocked on major streets and bridges. Insults and profanities were hurled back and forth. There were arrests. There were signs. There were chants of every kind.

My work has always been on the edge of journalism, documentary, and art. This way of working has put me in an odd space: too journalistic for the art world, and a bit too arty for the journalists. As a result, while my work has been published, it is more likely to be seen on the gallery walls of colleges and universities.

I use my work to try to start conversations. I know that just seeing my photographs is not going to change a viewer’s mind. Very few photographs have that power. It is not an epiphany I am trying to create, but a way to get people thinking and talking. And to me that is what good journalism is: not telling people what to think but giving them the facts and information to think on their own.

The arc of history is a long one, and when things are viewed through the passage of time, the truly important events and movements stand out. And the Black Lives Matter movement, as a new chapter in the greater Civil Rights Movement, already is a part of history. This will not be the final chapter in the struggle for equal rights, but as the movement morphs into whatever is coming next, I will be there with my cameras to document that as well.

Rob Gerhardt is a social documentary photographer based in Brooklyn. His work has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has been published internationally, including in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Diplomat and the Hong Kong Free Press. He is a member of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club, Hong Kong.

Scott McIntyre: a father’s dilemma


In a press conference at the FCCJ, a father convicted of trespassing for attempting to contact his children plead his case

By Justin McCurry

IT HAS BEEN MORE than 250 days since Scott McIntyre’s last had contact of any kind with his two young children, whom he claims were taken by his estranged Japanese wife from their home in Tokyo last May.

McIntyre’s eight-month search for his son and daughter, aged 8 and 11, has come at a price. In early January, the Australian journalist was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for three years, after being found guilty of trespassing last October. He had gained access to a common area of the apartment building where his parents-in-law live by following a resident through the main doors and was arrested a month later.

Speaking at the FCCJ after he appeared at the Tokyo district court, McIntyre accused the Japanese authorities of abusing the human rights of an estimated 100,000 children in Japan who are abducted by one parent and then denied any contact with the “left-behind” parent. Wearing a T-shirt calling for Japan to end to parental child abduction, McIntyre said his conviction would not stop him from campaigning for a change in Japanese law to allow courts to award joint custody when parents separate or divorce.

The UN convention on the rights of the child states that abduction is illegal and children have the right to maintain regular contact with both parents, he said, adding that child abduction was also illegal under Japan’s penal code. “This is a group I never wanted to belong to,” he said. “But it is a fundamental human right for children to be with both parents, enshrined in international treaties and obligations that Japan has ratified.”
McIntyre is one of a number of foreign parents who say they have been denied access to their children after separating from or divorcing their Japanese spouses. The Hague convention on international child abductions, which Japan ratified in 2013 after years of pressure, requires parents accused of abducting their children to return them to their country of habitual residence. But the convention does not apply to cases involving couples living in Japan, even if one of the parents is a foreign national, and Japanese courts almost always award custody to the mother.

“The people talking about this are foreigners, but in many ways we are the ones who are least impacted,” McIntyre said referring to the 90 percent of abduction cases that involve Japanese couples. “We want to give a voice to everyone. It’s not the mark of a tolerant, modern society to have a system that encourages the abduction of children.”

The solution was simple, he said. “We need to change the law from one of sole custody to joint custody, and then the abductions of children end tomorrow. That will be of great benefit for parents, children, and also Japanese society, because children will be able to grow up with the love of support of both parents.”

Japanese authorities have shown no enthusiasm for a change in the law, despite international pressure that has included personal interventions on behalf of their citizens by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte. “Children are being removed from their culture, their history and their background,” McIntyre said. “And this is all because Japan refuses to do what every other G20 nation has done and implement a system of joint custody. It’s a basic, fundamental human right.

McIntyre believes this issue is bringing shame to Japan. “The police are not working, the government is not working and the judicial system is not working,” he said. “These are state-sponsored kidnappings. This is only going to change when Japanese people understand what is happening and when Japanese parents speak out.”

McIntyre’s plight has again drawn attention to Japan’s treatment of suspects, an issue that attracted global media coverage following the arrest, detention, and escape of the fugitive former Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn. McIntyre, who spent 45 days in detention, was initially taken into custody at Takaido police station in western Tokyo before being charged and transferred to the city’s main detention centre in Kosuge.
Like Ghosn—who was held at the facility for a total of more than 120 days before he was released on bail for a second time last April—McIntyre spent all but half an hour a day in his tiny cell, which was lit day and night. He shared cells with men charged with serious crimes, including rape and murder. He was not permitted to stand inside his cell, and was only allowed to lie down for two hours in the afternoon and at night. When he complained about sleep deprivation, he was threatened with solitary confinement or told he would be placed in a straightjacket.

He is aware that his enforced separation from his children could continue until they reach adulthood. The police, the family court, McIntyre’s in-laws and his children’s school have all failed to act on his requests to help locate his children, he said, despite being presented with evidence that they are the victims of parental child abduction.

“I don’t know if they’re alive or if they’re dead,” McIntyre said. “I don’t know anything about their education. I don’t know if they’re in Japan or abroad. As a parent, it’s heartbreaking.” Asked if he had a message for his children, McIntyre said: “I love you very much and want to see you as soon as I can.” ❶

Justin McCurry is the Japan and Korea correspondent for the Guardian and Observer newspapers. His book, War on Wheels: Inside Keirin and Japan’s Cycling Subculture, will be published in July by Pursuit Books.

Profile; Bobbie van der List, Freelance


By Marina Yoshimura


Journalism serves a couple of purposes: to report the truth, and, ideally, to add meaning to it. Dutch journalist Bobbie van der List tries to do both, to write facts with objectivity and a touch of empathy—giving life to the stories he shares.

Van der List spent his childhood in the Netherlands, mostly in Amsterdam—where he says he enjoyed the diversity—and Utrecht. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism in the Netherlands, he had a couple of jobs before returning to academia to specialize in East Asian studies at Lund University in Lund, Sweden. His love of exploring is what perhaps led to his interest in journalism, he says. “I always wanted to eventually work as a correspondent,” he says. “Every chance I got to travel out of Holland, I grabbed it.”

He chose to focus on Japan over China, and as part of his graduate degree program, visited Waseda University in Tokyo for two months while he wrote his master’s thesis. It was on Japan’s state secrecy law—a law that allows the Japanese government to withhold information from the public to “preserve its data security.”

After obtaining his master’s degree, his adventurous spirit led Van der List to move to Japan. “I’ve always been curious about living in one of the biggest cities on earth,” he says. His initial plan was to spend only a month or two in Tokyo. But the more he explored and met people, he realized that the city, and by extension, Japan, had many stories worth sharing; he decided to stay longer. “I didn’t think I would stay here for four years,” he says.

AS A FREELANCE JOURNALIST, Van der List has written for both Dutch and international publications. He has covered stories for NRC Handelsblad, Trouw, Financieele Dagblad, Parool, and AD; for the international audience, he has written for Vice and Strategy + Business. The topics he has chosen are eclectic. He has interviewed Fukushima’s evacuees from the March 2011 triple disaster that hit Tohoku; a North Korean defector who sought refuge in Japan; a hikikomori recluse; a working mother who fought against maternity harassment; and a drug addiction counselor, who himself had recovered from drug addiction. 

What drives Van der List to write about them and the issues they grapple with stems from his willingness to understand the world from a local lens and share their stories with people back in Holland and with the world. He writes about the people not in spite of but because they are part of Japan’s taboos. “Sometimes you wonder whether there’s an effect on the people of Japan,” he says. But people have told him that one way to change these issues is by having journalists from outside write articles about the inside. 

He says it was rewarding to write about the North Korean defector. People in the Netherlands had no knowledge of the claim that Koreans were lured into returning to North Korea as part of a Japanese government program,, so it shed light on an underreported issue. Although he acknowledges that other journalists in Japan have written about such stories, Van der List is covering them at a time when much of mainstream media have shifted their focus to China.

“And it’s nice to show a side of Japan beyond the cliché,” he says. 

Activism, however, is not his purpose. “In Holland, drugs are legal, but in many other places, they’re not,” he says. “I’m not writing articles so that the next day, everybody can sniff cocaine.”



BUT WRITING ABOUT SOCIAL issues in Japan, which are often taboo, can be challenging, admits Van der List. He believes that one of the challenges about reporting from Japan is how to communicate with the people he interviews, not necessarily because of the language but because the distinction between honne and tatemae can be hard to make. “Sometimes, you don’t know how much you can ask,” he says. 

He experienced journalistic “mutual understanding”, for example, after writing about a father who had lost a child in the 3/11 disaster; Van der List was able to write a good story, and the father was able to share stories that were important to him. He says it can be difficult to get to an issue’s core when people simply want to discuss the periphery, but the language is key. “Learning the language makes the experience more enjoyable and deep.” 

His long-term goals in journalism involve other formats. In the future, Van der List hopes to create a radio program and maybe a podcast that would focus on a particular theme in each episode. 

The FCCJ is one of the things in Tokyo he appreciates. “One of the great things about being in this Club,” he says, “is that you are literally among walking encyclopedias.” ❶

Marina Yoshimura is a senior at Waseda University. She currently writes for the university’s public affairs department and is a member of the Number 1 Shimbun committee.

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