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​​​​​​​The FCCJ likes to bill itself as a place “where the news is made”. True to its word, the club has a long history of hosting key speakers whose appearances have often made waves. Now is the time to broaden the club’s remit and strengthen its role as a place not only where the news is made, but also where discussion and debate flourish.

That is the main recommendation of an events task force that has been approved by FCCJ President Isabel Reynolds and the FCCJ board.

The task force’s remit was to examine how we can expand our menu of professional events to include activities that are informative and educational.

Launching this kind of forum is of more than just academic interest and importance. The FCCJ needs to make better and more intensive use of its spacious, modern premises to provide existing and potential members with a wider range of professional events that will in turn make membership of the club more attractive and give members better value for money.

Critically, the club needs to generate new revenue and is ideally situated to tap into new income sources by virtue of its location in the heart of Tokyo's Marunouchi business and financial district. By staging more frequent professional events, particularly those of a financial and economic nature, the club will be able capitalize on its location and reputation.

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These events should reflect the diverse nature and needs of FCCJ members who are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions that extend beyond journalism and writing in general.

The task force, which includes associate as well as regular members, is keenly aware of a desire among non-regular members to become more involved in suggesting events and speakers, and in helping organize professional events.

They would like to see the predominantly news-related press conferences and briefings organized by the Professional Activities Committee (PAC) supplemented by regular and in-depth events centered on a particular theme.

Those could include climate change and sustainable investment – with an emphasis on their ramifications for the business world – Japan's prospects as a technological superpower, or developments in medicine and pharmaceuticals. The potential list of subjects is long and eclectic, from the latest in crypto and digital currencies, to fintech and Tokyo’s mission to become a global financial center.

All members of the club are invited to submit ideas for events that encompass a wide range of themes. Anthony Rowley (arowley@orion. will then present them for discussion by members of the task force.

We envisage the events taking the form of breakfast meetings, morning coffee briefings, lunch meetings and possibly afternoon or evening gatherings, depending on the level of interest in each topic.

Working journalists will be able to attend for free, and details of fees for other attendees will follow soon. To begin with, the events will be held on a trial basis to give us the opportunity to evaluate them.

To avoid increasing the workload on FCCJ bodies such as the PAC and Special Events Committee, the task force, with help from club staff, will organize a number of trial events after consultating the relevant committees.

The plan is to hold one event a week to begin with, starting early this year. They will initially be held in English, but if there is demand for interpreting services – and if revenues allow – then English-Japanese interpretation could be provided later.

By putting on informal and specialised events, the task force hopes to foster greater interaction and dialog among all FCCJ members, to engender a community spirit by encouraging people to play an active part in the project’s success.

Task force membership is as follows: FCCJ President Isabel Reynolds, Associate Member Kanji Vicki Beyer, Task Force Chair and FCCJ past President Anthony Rowley, FCCJ Honorary Member and Senior Advisor to Wisdom Tree Investments (Japan) Jesper Koll, Associate Member and head of Partners Group (Japan) Shunsuke Tanahashi and former FCCJ President Suvendri Kakuchi. Members interviewed for their views include current FCCJ Board member Mary Corbett and former co-chairs of the FCCJ Associate Members Liaison Committee Yusuke Wada and Keiko Packard.

● Anthony Rowley is the Tokyo correspondent for Singapore Business Times