I’m happy to report that after beating the drum about establishing a quorum for the General Membership Meeting on March 20, we achieved the magic number. We needed 131 Regular Members, and with 15 attending in person, 151 absentee ballots, and 13 proxies, we reached 179.

A large “Thank you!” to all involved. (And, of course, a reminder that we get to do it all over again for the June GMM!)

Those who couldn’t attend missed a good feast and a Q&A on topics from PAC and the No. 1 Shimbun to our donation drive and membership. Dues paid by members make up 90 percent of revenue so attracting more members to the new Club is the clear priority for 2019.

Treasurer Willem Kortekaas gave a briefing on the Club’s finances, specifically the proposed FY2019 budget and business plan. The budget assumed a net income of ¥6.3 million for the year based on approval of motions for a phased increase in initiation fees for Associate Members and a Relocation Levy. Both motions passed, which was fortunate as without them the budget assumption would have been a net loss of ¥27.9 million. The budget and business plan were also approved. A separate notice will be sent explaining all the motions presented at the GMM and the voting breakdown.

Our new Journalism Learning Labs initiative is a means of bringing younger journalists into the FCCJ. First Vice President Abby Leonard is the driving force and we had a full house for the first event on March 13.

The speaker was our very own Ken Moritsugu, news director at AP for Japan and the Koreas. Ken’s topic was covering Japanese news for an overseas readership and he also ran a Q&A session. I’ll use this space to wish Ken every success in his recent promotion, which will see him move to Beijing. Enjoy, Ken, and come back soon.

The Learning Labs for April and May include how to make the best use of Google News Tools for researching stories, fact checking and more; and guidelines on legal implications for reporting in Japan and explaining the justice system. We will probably open them up to larger numbers; we capped the first at 30 and had a waiting list.

Meantime, you should soon be seeing the return of some old favorites on the walls of the new Club, including the past president snapshots with Club speakers and the mugshots of Regular Members, hopefully all cleaned up and looking refreshed.

Finally, we will be re-hanging the calligraphy work, “Blessing,” by Toko Shinoda in a pride of place where the Club’s two main corridors intersect. The work has been lovingly restored by the Tolman Collection, whose founder Norman Tolman is a long time Associate Member at the Club.

I look forward to seeing you in the Club.

– Peter Langan