It is my very great honor and pleasure to have been appointed President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in this, our 75th anniversary year. For those who don’t know me, I’m a reporter with Bloomberg News and I’ve worked in Tokyo for more than 20 years.
Not only am I one of just a handful of women to have served in this position, but I am lucky enough to be on a Board with no less than three other women. In other words, more than a third of the Board is female and, by contrast with many other organizations, we’ve met the Japanese government’s 30% target for female managers bang on time.
Our Secretary, Ilgin Yorulmaz; Board Member, Mary Corbett and Kanji, Vicki Beyers are exactly the kind of accomplished and determined people who can help bring the Club into a new phase. We plan to set up a Diversity Committee straight away both to attract a wider range of members to the Club and to help the Club reflect their broader interests.
But that’s just one of our goals. As many of you will be aware, this summer’s election was a long and drawn-out process. One of our first objectives is to come up with a more manageable and less expensive way of selecting our Board. We also plan to tackle the issues over our Food and Beverage service and improve the way we communicate via the Website and social media.
On the news side, we’ll renew efforts to bring newsmakers from both Japan and across the world to the Club or to speak to members online. And I encourage all members, journalists or associates, to make suggestions for speakers to me or the Professional Activities Committee chairs.
This is a time of crisis for the Club, no less than for other organizations and businesses around the world. While we’re not facing the aftermath of a devastating war, as our predecessors were when they launched the organization in 1945, the coronavirus is affecting every aspect of our operations, not least our in-person press conferences, which will necessarily be limited for some time to come. This threatens the buzz of breaking news on our premises, but we are finding workarounds.
I want to ask each of our Members to please, stand by us during this difficult time. You are the Club, and without your support and participation we would no longer exist. That means we want to hear from you if you know how to make things better, or if you want to put your ideas into practice by getting more involved in committee work.
Finally, I would like to thank my predecessor Khaldon Azhari and his board for their tireless work in steering the Club through what must have been some of the most difficult times the Club has ever faced. We hope to continue to benefit from their advice in the coming year.