PETER LANGAN, freelance, has been in the news business in Asia for 30 years, with postings in Japan and Singapore, covering stories on the ground from Jakarta and Beijing to Mumbai, Ulaanbaatar and many points in between. He was the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Bloomberg News from 2005 to 2009, and later as an Editor at Large led the bureau’s news team that won two SOPA awards for coverage of the Fukushima disaster. He is from the UK, more precisely the City of Liverpool well known for producing lousy music and useless football teams, with the exception of Everton FC.


MONZURUL HUQ, Daily Prothom Alo, has been in journalism from his days as a freelancer while still a student in the late seventies. Huq later joined the United Nations as an Information Officer, but left in the late 1980s and moved to BBC London where he worked as a radio producer. He landed in Japan in mid nineties to work at NHK radio and began working for a Bangladesh daily as their correspondent. When the editor of that newspaper launched a new daily, Prothom Alo, in 1998, Huq joined as their Japan correspondent, and is now East Asia Bureau Chief. He has authored a number of books on Japan and other issues, including a memoir reflecting on his journalism activities. He has been actively involved in Club activities throughout his tenure as a member of the FCCJ and served as President in 2009.


ROBERT WHITING, freelance, is the author of several successful books on contemporary Japanese culture, including Tokyo Underworld, The Meaning of Ichiro, The Chrysanthemum and the Bat and the best selling You Gotta Have Wa. He has published 20 other books in Japanese. He has written for Sports Illustrated, Time, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Japan Times as well as for Japanese language publications, including Shukan Asahi and Bungei Shunju. He authored a manga series for Kodansha that sold 750,000 copies in graphic novel form. At present, he writes a weekly column for Yukan Fuji. He has lived in Japan on and off for the past 50 years, and is a graduate of Sophia University.


WILLEM KORTEKAAS has been an Associate Member since 1983. Following a 25 year career in banking with ABN Bank and postings to Africa, Canada, the US and Japan, he set up a Japan based consulting firm that focused on Japanese M&A in Europe. He is a director of several foreign owned companies in Japan. Past and present honorary functions include Chairman of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Vice chairman of the Japan Netherlands Society, Vice chairman of the European Business Community (EBC) and Member of the Expert Committee of the Japan Investment Council. He lives in Joetsu and is trying to become an expert in Niigataken saké.


TAKASHI KAWACHI joined the Mainichi Shimbun in 1970, after graduation from the Keio University faculty of Law and Politics. He began his career as a local reporter at the newspaper’s Chiba branch. He was transferred to the political department in 1975, where he covered the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Defense and the LDP. In 1988, he was assigned to Washington D.C as correspondent, where he covered the White House, the Department of Defense, two presidential elections and the Gulf War. He was named foreign news editor in 1996 and editorial writer in 1998. In 2002, he became a Mainichi board director, manager of the Nagoya office, and later, head of the Tokyo digital media department. He is working as a freelance journalist since his resignation from the Mainichi in 2006.


KHALDON AZHARI is president of PanOrient News, an American media company producing TV News Packages and articles for wires and print publications, mainly in Arabic, with a focus on Japan and East Asia. Azhari has been the bureau chief of WAM (UAE based news agency) and a correspondent for PETRA (Jordan News) since the mid nineties. Additionally, as a former correspondent for various Arabic media such as MBC, CNBC Arabia, Dubai TV, he has been a regular contributor to BBC Arabic Radio and TV since the mid nineties. Azhari has been the voice of Japan and East Asia to West Asia and the Arabic world for more than a quarter of a century and is a recipient of an award from the Japan Arab Association for his contributions to media relations and for strengthening ties between Japan and the Arab countries.

MEHDI BASSIRI, an Associate Member, was a career diplomat with the Iranian foreign affairs ministry. He served at the Iranian Embassy in London England before his posting as first secretary to the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo in charge of consulate affairs and press relations. In 1980 he resigned his diplomatic career because of disagreements with the new Iranian revolutionary regime and established his own trading company. Immediately after becoming an FCCJ member, he became involved in the Club’s social activities, first joining the Associate Liaison Committee, and organizing an annual Persian New Year Night that drew capacity bookings to enjoy Iranian food and music. He has served as co chair of the Membership Marketing committee, and chairman of the Wine Committee. He has also been a long time member of the Food and Beverage Committee, including serving as secretary, co chair and chairman.

WARREN DEVALIER, Associate Member, has 50 years of career experience in finance, general management and entrepreneurship, with Citibank, Exxon Corporation, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Interface Inc., a consulting firm he founded in Japan to serve Asian clients in development of business and global leadership skills. He is an alumnus of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a professional coach certified under a joint program of the Executive Education Division of Columbia Business School and the Department of Organization and Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University. A native of New Orleans, he displayed a passion for food and wine well before the word ‘foodie’ entered the English language. Rumor has it that he dabbles in a miscellany of hobbies, including long distance running, poetry, Argentine tango, and flamenco guitar.

ABIGAIL LEONARD is a Tokyo based journalist who covers Japanese politics and culture for print and broadcast news outlets in the US and Europe. She has written stories for the Washington Post, Newsweek and Vox; produced video pieces for the New York Times and radio stories for NPR, BBC and Deutsche Welle. Before she moved to Japan, she wrote and produced long form news documentary stories as a staff producer for PBS, ABC and Al Jazeera America and was also a lead writer for two news analysis programs: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.” Stories she’s reported from Japan have earned a National Headliner Award and a James Beard Foundation Media Award Nomination. She was a 2011 East West Center Japan Fellow and a 2010 UN Foundation Journalism Fellow.






KAZUO ABIKO, freelance