Suvendrini Kakuchi is Tokyo correspondent for University World News, a London-based news site covering global higher education issues. She is a Sri Lankan based in Japan for more than three decades and has many years of experience covering Japan-Asia relations with a focus on development topics. A 1997 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Kakuchi is also an author and contributor to Japanese publications.

1st Vice President

Peter Elstrom is an executive editor at Bloomberg, responsible for technology news in Asia. Previously, he oversaw company news in the Americas and in Asia, and was an assistant managing editor for BusinessWeek. He is a recipient of the Michigan Journalism Fellowship, the Chicago Headline Club's Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism, and the Association of Area Business Publications Awards. His reporting on immigration won the New York Press Club's Golden Keyboard Award for best investigative reporting online. While he was news director, won back-to-back titles as the best business news Web site. Elstrom holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University.

2nd Vice President

Ilgin Yorulmaz is a multimedia journalist covering foreign policy and technology for BBC World Service Turkish and other digital news outlets. She has reported on culture, human rights and ethnic minorities from the U.S., Turkey, India, Nepal, and the Philippines for HuffPost, VICE, The Guardian and Vogue. Before moving to Tokyo, she freelanced in London, Istanbul, and New York, and reported on the ground the night of Turkey's failed coup d'etat in 2016. She holds a Master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a second Master's from the International University of Japan in Niigata, where she majored in International Relations. She is a 2017 East West Center Fellow and a 2016 White House Correspondents Association Scholar. She also teaches journalism at Temple University's Japan campus and joined the FCCJ in 2018.


Isabel Reynolds has been covering Japanese government, politics and diplomacy for Bloomberg News since 2012. Before that, she worked for Reuters in Tokyo for more than a decade, writing about everything from showbiz to missile defense. Originally from the UK, Reynolds has also worked in TV news in London, covering stories across Europe and Africa. She has a BSc from the University of Manchester and a master's degree in Japanese studies from the University of Essex. She has been a Club member for about 20 years and served as president of the board from 2020-2021.


Mehdi Bassiri was a career diplomat with the Iranian foreign affairs ministry. He served at the Iranian Embassy in London before his posting as first secretary to the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo in charge of consulate affairs and press relations. In 1980 he resigned his diplomatic career because of disagreements with the new Iranian revolutionary regime and established his own trading company. Immediately after becoming an FCCJ member, he became involved in the Club’s social activities, first joining the Associate Liaison Committee, and organizing an annual Persian New Year Night that drew capacity bookings to enjoy Iranian food and music. He has served as co-chair of the Membership Marketing Committee, and chairman of the Wine Committee.  He has also been a long-time member of the Food & Beverage Committee and has served as Treasurer since 2020.


Mary Corbett started her media career as writer/director on documentaries and news features focused on wildlife and environmental issues with partners such as Discovery, NHK and ITV.  Sustainability remains a core theme in current projects, along with ongoing columns covering global health and healthcare risk management.

Simon Farrell is co-founding publisher at Custom Media, which produces magazines for the  British and Canadian chambers of commerce in Japan, and is an executive producer of online video channel In Japan TV. Simon has spent about 25 years in Tokyo over three visits since 1987, including at the Daily Yomiuri (now Japan News) as a page editor. He was also based in South Africa, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates for the UK, US and local press. Simon holds qualifications from the London School of Journalism; the Board Director Training Institute of Japan; Financial Times Non-Executive Director Program; Oxford Executive Leadership Program at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and the MBA Essentials course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He holds volunteer positions at the South African Chamber of Commerce in Japan;  Japan Market Expansion Competition; Tokyo American Club  and Animal Refuge Kansai. He has been an FCCJ member since 2005.

Randy Schmidt

Raised in California, Randy Schmidt graduated from UCLA Film School in 1984 and worked at 20th Century Fox motion picture studio before moving to Tokyo in 1996. While in Japan, Randy was employed as a staff cameraman-editor at the CNN Tokyo Bureau and later freelanced for all the major foreign TV news bureaus in Tokyo. In 2006, CBS News hired Randy as a cameraman-editor, based in Tokyo though covering all of Asia with over six months of international travel each year to China, South Korea, North Korea, India, Bhutan, Indonesia, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, etc. With subject matter ranging from hard news stories to cultural features and natural disasters, Randy shoot, edits, and produces TV news pieces for “CBS Evening News,” “CBS This Morning,” “60 Minutes,” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” Randy has covered such major assignments as Japan’s 2011 earthquake-tsunami-meltdown, US Presidential trips to Asia, nine assignments inside North Korea, the COVID crisis, and the Nagano, Beijing, and Tokyo Olympics.  On the lighter side, Randy has shot and edited feature stories in Japan on such subjects as snow monkeys, soba noodles, vending machines, bonsai, and robots.  He has also produced award-winning stop-motion animated movies with his young son Dylan.

Kantaro Suzuki, who joined the Club in 2019,  is a freelance reporter focusing on Southeast Asian residents of Japan, including technical trainees. His career so far includes working in power cable maintenance for TEPCO in Tokyo; as a news assistant in the New York Times Tokyo bureau and as a reporter for the Daily Manila Shimbun in the Philippines.


Monzurul Huq is Tokyo Bureau Chief of Prothom Alo, the leading national daily of Bangladesh. He has served the Board in various capacities during the tenure of his membership since 2001 and was elected President of the FCCJ in June 2009.


Vicki L. Beyer is a dual national (Australia/USA) who has lived more than 30 years in Japan. She is admitted as a lawyer in the American state of Washington and worked for 17 years as an in-house lawyer in Tokyo, specializing in employment law and corporate governance. She is currently a professor of law at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law Business Law Department and also writes travel pieces and occasional commentary on Japanese culture and society on a free-lance basis. She is the author of 10 Temples on 2 Wheels: Exploring Kamakura by Bicycle or on Foot (Scribblers: 2008).  She is also a "Cool Ota-ku Ambassador", a kind of community goodwill ambassador for Tokyo's Ota Ward.