THE MONTH OF APRIL heralds spring and a new fiscal year in Japan. The positive sentiment of this season represents the mood in the FCCJ following the March General Membership Meeting, when Members overwhelmingly voted to approve the Board’s settlement ending the four-year-long lawsuit by union staff members. In addition to this good news, the Board also received GMM approval for the fiscal 2016 budget, the continued services from Meihio, a company that will direct our scheduled Club move to new premises in 2018, and a new set of regulations on accepting donations under our koeki status that has paved the way for financial contributions under tax-free conditions for the donor.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention, with some pride, the unprecedented response of the almost 200 votes and proxies from Members collected at this GMM. Perhaps this was the result of my last column that whined about the lack of interest about Club affairs among Regular Members or maybe it was the hard work of our staff and Board Members who resorted to calling to alert voting Members about their participation. Regardless, the outcome was indeed very impressive and, obviously, journalist Members do care about the FCCJ.

I strongly believe this season also marks a decisive turn towards a positive future. As this Board’s term winds down over the next few months, I can say this year has been a roller coaster ride that we have faced with gusto. During the last few months in office, as president, I would like to target a few other important goals, with my priority being to find realistic solutions. Key committees led by the Board Members will continue to devote much of their time in these directions: tackling the organization’s shaky financial health by embarking on finding solutions; participating in an ongoing membership debate to protect our traditional journalist character based on accountability and transparency; and high on our agenda looking more closely at the conditions of the scheduled Club move.

I have made a special promise to meet more of the Associate Members who play an important role in this organization. As their numbers increase, I would like to ask these Members to make their voices heard. Requests for change, especially on issues such as increasing the amount of information in Japanese, for example, would be most welcome for consideration by the FCCJ management.

In closing, I would like to invite all our Members to attend some of the many international events at the Club plans for the calendar now include library book breaks featuring foreign authors writing in Japanese. In addition, in keeping with the spirit of bringing a more Asian atmosphere to the FCCJ, please keep May 27 open for an upcoming South Asia entertainment event. Later this fall we will also hold a much-awaited Taiwan Night.

Enjoy the heady days of spring!