I am writing this in my role as president now that there has been a slight, and unavoidable, extension to my time in office while the Club chooses my successor.
The reality is that last month’s board elections did not result in the approval of a sufficient number of candidates to appoint people to all of the available positions. According to the Club by-laws, that means I will stay on as president until regular members vote again in August. That election, I believe, will resolve the issue and enable us to put a new board in place.
Thankfully, the current situation does not leave the Club in a precarious position, as our constitution allows for these contingencies while keeping the organisation ticking over. We will follow procedure to the letter and wait for the completion of another round of elections.
In the meantime, the Club will function with me at the helm and the current board members for just a little longer. Naturally, I don’t envisage major changes this month given these ad hoc arrangements. Club services will continue as before, and the general manager and board members will be open to your suggestions as usual.
The Club has hosted several interesting events over the past month, including the Swadesh de Roy Scholarship Awards ceremony. The awards - a pillar of the FCCJ’s mission to promote quality journalism – are open to journalism students in Japan, who submit work in three categories: print, broadcast and photojournalism.
This year, the committee, headed by former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Martin Fackler, received 15 entries – the highest number in the awards’ history. Some of the students, who hail from different countries and universities, came to the Club to for the awards dinner to receive their prizes and celebrate the work of their peers.
All of the selected entries were displayed at the Club, and included photos and reports on the complex world of male hostesses and their female patrons, female tattoo artists, and life in rural Japan. During the dinner, the young journalists spoke of their passion for journalism and their career plans. Swadesh de Roy was a former member of the FCCJ and correspondent for the Press Trust of India. Deeply committed to journalism, he contributed to a fund to support the FCCJ scholarships.
On the entertainment side, I am pleased to announce the return to full houses at Saturday Night Live music evenings, as well as in the bar and dining areas. It is wonderful to see everyone having a good time. At the same time, the management is aware of rising Covid-19 infections in Tokyo and will continue to ask visitors to take the same precautions that have been in place throughout the pandemic.
I’ll end by wishing you a fun and relaxing summer. I assume most of our members will either be returning home or spending the holidays in beautiful natural surroundings away from the city. Summer is the best time of the year for me – as a Sri Lankan I am happy with hot weather. While we are all aware that extreme temperatures are being caused by climate change, we can still use the summer to reflect on the beauty of nature and the need to protect it for future generations.
Suvendrini Kakuchi is Tokyo correspondent for University World News in the UK.