Dear members, Today marked one of the highlights of my time so far as president of the club. I was honored to take part via Zoom in the awards ceremony for our Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship. The quality of this year’s entries on the theme of “Isolation and Engagement: Japan at a Turbulent Time” was phenomenal, as you will see if you take a look at the winning photos, which are on dis-play near the reception. The award-winning print article will appear in a future issue of the Number 1 Shimbun. The younger generation may be suffering in all sorts of ways under the pandemic and state of emergency, but they have certainly not lost any of their energy or creativity, and that gives me great hope for the future of journalism. I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to meet any of the winners. I’d like to thank the Scholarship Committee co-chairs Abby Leonard and Kazu Takada for their hard work in organizing a highly successful competition, despite the extremely difficult circumstances.
Turning to more mundane, but important, matters I’d like to thank all those members who voted on our budget and business plan for the coming fiscal year, as well as on several pro-posed changes to our rules. The results were announced by email for those who weren’t able to attend the General Membership Meeting, so I won’t explain them here, except to note that the budget was passed, along with a slightly increased levy to replace the one that comes to an end this month. As you will have noticed, we introduced a new web-based voting system for the first time. After the hiccups in last year’s Board election, which ended up wasting a lot of time and money, as well as causing heart-ache for a number of members, it was one of my priorities to modernize our voting system when I became president. While there are a few details still to iron out, I think the new system is clearly far superior to email voting and will help us improve efficiency and cut costs. My sincere appreciation goes to Reed Stevenson, who brought his tech skills to bear on the introduction of the new system and to Kanji Vicki Beyer for a heroic effort in improving and clarifying parts of our bylaws. While proposed amendments to the Articles of Association did not reach the required two-thirds majority on this occasion, we will be putting them to the vote again, possibly in June.
As always, a raft of interesting events contin-ues at the Club. To highlight just a couple – next month sees a screening of “Umibe no Kanojo-tachi,” a fictionalized account of the plight fac-ing some of the foreign workers who come to Japan on the technical intern training program. Do also make time to watch our topical press conference with Myanmar activists, available on YouTube, if you weren’t able to attend.
From my office desk I can see the cherry blossoms starting to peep through in the Impe-rial Palace gardens, reminding me that time’s flying toward the end of the current Board’s term. We’ll try to pack as much progress as we can into the final few months.
- Isabel Reynolds has been reporting for Bloomberg in Tokyo since 2012. She has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and been a regular member of the FCCJ for most of that time.