January 2022

Dear FCCJ members,

During the pandemic, the FCCJ has experienced an unprecedented membership flight, pushing an already tenuous future into greater financial peril. The membership would likely know more details about Club conditions had the current Board of Directors undertaken this fiduciary responsibility to share information at our recent Emergency General Membership Meeting in November. It did not.

Rather, the brief gathering on November 19 was an officially sanctioned fait accompli, with roughly seven non-Board members in physical attendance (amid a quorum of online vote respondents) to add a new Board member solely selected by the existing Board, as well as to pass a bylaw amendment.

In the first meeting since the election of the Board five months earlier, there was no mention of membership, finances, or the hiring of a new general manager amid these conditions, nor further financial support extended to the food & beverage vendor. These issues appeared to be on a need-to-know basis.

The less than 45-minute gathering followed a trend established since the Club obtained koeki status, of being neither extraordinary, general, nor a real membership meeting. It was the online definition of going through the motions, with purported validation provided by tone deaf bylaw readings disregarding years of actual meetings and understood protocols.

And, given hopes that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in Japan may have passed, it was a missed opportunity for the membership to at long last engage, and instead appeared an act of disenfranchisement. A promise that all would be made clear in the next Number 1 Shimbun rang hollow, as ultimately mention of the meeting was not included in the president's column, just note of "a modest rise in membership" without specifics. That would be an achievement, as the Club had been shedding membership at a rate of 11% annually even before the pandemic.

Moreover, the FCCJ has other troubling issues, and I welcome all sharing those in a functional forum. My basic message is that the Club needs more engagement, not less of it, and if these meetings' pointlessness is a sidebar of koeki status, then this also should be re-evaluated. Bluntly, the FCCJ's future is at stake, and we must be part of an active solution, not just a March quorum.


Dan Sloan