A very happy New Year from President Peter Langan and myself!

We are all settling into the new facility and getting to know the premises. On the dining front, we’re happy to announce that the Correspondents’ Lunch is once again on the menu and, as of this writing, we are very close to agreeing on a new Food and Beverage contract that promises exciting new dining choices in the year ahead. This has been a long process and we appreciate everyone’s patience; we’re hopeful the new food will make it well worth the wait.

Meantime, the Professional Activities Committee has been doing great things, hosting a press conference with former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara as well as Kazuhisa Takeda, former director of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, who spoke about his opposition to the company’s acquisition of Shire. We also held a lively discussion about press freedom, which over 66,000 viewers watched on the livestream. Looking forward, the committee has tentatively booked famed American film director Rob Reiner in February.

And there is more good PAC news to report: We’re very close to hiring a new staff member. That will be a big help in ensuring we get the best speakers at the club and should also make the current staff’s workload a bit more manageable. A special thanks to Ito-san for holding it all together these past few months.

There have been other successful events at the Club: The Communications & PR Committee held a Rugby Media Night on Dec. 3. Committee members Kumagai-san and Yamada-san as well as board liaison Dan Sloan were instrumental in setting up the event with rugby counterparts, and the GM and his team did an excellent job with food and beverage arrangements. Total attendance was 280, including the chairman of the Japan World Cup Committee and other sport VIPs and some members of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, as well as some 116 paying guests.

Finally, we’d like to issue one last reminder that the deadline for the Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship is Jan. 18, 2019. This year’s theme is “Japan’s Future in a Changing World: Geopolitical, Economic, or Demographic Dynamics.” Any current undergraduate or graduate student in Japan, or any Japanese student enrolled in an overseas journalism program, is eligible to apply, so please encourage the aspiring journalists in your lives to enter.

This has been a challenging but also very exciting year for the Club, so on behalf of President Peter Langan and the rest of the board, thank you for your optimism and support. We are all looking forward to big things in the year ahead.

– Abigail Leonard