The year 2019 has been one of the most active years in recent history for those covering news in Japan. We have experienced world class summit meetings, such as the G20 and related ministerial meetings, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, and numerous bilateral summits including one between Japan and the US)
Japan played host to the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is just around the corner. The games will bring exciting assignments for journalists, reporters, camera crews and others.
Japan also hosted various international symposiums and seminars, with top speakers and panelists projecting their insights on the political, economic, military, and energy outlook for Japan, East Asia, and the rest of the world.
Add to that domestic events–topped of course by the new Imperial era, Reiwa, that came with the abdication of former Emperor Akihito and the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, embellished by the attendance of royalty and political leaders from around the world.
All of these news events took place while local and national elections (although with few surprises) were held. Political scandals, resignations, new Cabinets, very unfortunate natural disasters that devastated regions, all kept reporters very busy on a daily basis.
Diplomatic news had flocks of reporters chasing updates on the strains Japan has with South Korea, and the continued confrontation with North Korea.
Continued stress points in Okinawa over the US military bases also fed the headlines. Regional territorial disputes continued to make writers wonder about which generation might eventually see a solution to such problems. Last but not least, bilateral activities that perhaps appeal only to limited audiences kept us busy covering extensive small-scale visits to Japan by delegations from various countries.
All in all, it seemed as though the world was coming to Japan and Tokyo became a little United Nations hub.
In the center of all of this activity stands the FCCJ with its world-class correspondents covering and reporting on events. The club has been the backbone of coverage with its subsidizing of the FPIJ (Foreign Press in Japan) body specialized in pool coverage and access to the foreign correspondents, and helping all the media in Japan, including non-FCCJ members.
With that and with the help and cooperation of Japanese media colleagues and authorities, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the “hub” coverage will continue in the New Year.
I would say that being in Japan has been a flourishing business for the international media, and that this will continue. If you belong to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan—where history meets the future at the present—and take advantage of the world-class facilities at our new premises, your job and work will certainly be made easier and more interesting. Our Nijubashi Marunouchi building provides a prime location to meet your logistical needs. The FCCJ’s nearly 1800 members drawn from all categories of media, and from business, finance, academia, government and beyond are, along with our dedicated staff, in the right place to continue our mission of being at the center of the news.
As a “returning” president of FCCJ, I feel a sense of great honor to be part of all this and to be a member of FCCJ. I have no doubt our club will continue its success story in 2020, one of high news activity for Japan and for the FCCJ.
I wish you all a Happy New Year (calendar and lunar) in 2020 and hope that the FCCJ will gain a gold medal for being the center of news making in Japan.