The FCCJ Board of Directors has decided to hold an emergency General Membership Meeting (GMM), seeking Members’ votes on a crucial issue facing our Club, which is the proposed move from the current building to a new building three blocks away.

It is possibly going to be the most important GMM in the Club’s 71-year history, and I strongly urge all Regular Members to attend.

I urge those unable to attend to give their proxies to a Member whom they trust to listen carefully to arguments presented at the meeting, and to use careful and considered judgement in voting.

I also urge all Members to research the facts for themselves and not reply on the opinion of others. All Members should understand the situation as the wrong decision could potentially place the long-term survival of the Club at risk.

The issue we are facing is that some Members of the current Board and committees believe that the Club faces risks to its financial soundness as a result of increased costs incurred by the proposed move. Furthermore, they feel the character and professional identity might undergo some change because of membership augmentation measures that might result from the move.

In addition, the Food and Beverage Task Force committee says there are “issues” over the proposed new premises from the point of view of design and functionality of the kitchen and service area, although the House and Property committee has been working in extensive meetings weekly with our partner, Mitsubishi Estate, to develop the best designs for our operation.

We have been discussing all of those issues and have explored every possible analysis with legal advice from professionals. I am calling on our membership of the FCCJ to be fully involved as the Club’s Articles and Bylaws require it to be in authorizing spending decisions relating to the proposed move.

All issues facing the Club will be discussed at the meeting, and I again urge all members to attend and give attention to the discussion if they want to have a say in the future of the Club. It is essential that the GMM which is the “sovereign body” of the FCCJ be fully appraised of and fully debate what is involved, and then make appropriate decisions so we maintain the core mission of the Club.

Since its establishment in 1945, the FCCJ has served as the oasis for generations of foreign correspondents in Japan. Our job is not to compromise our founding principles and values, but to continue our mission as a shining light of freedom.