I PEN THIS LAST column as president with a few important lessons for the new Board. The bottom line is that the FCCJ is an exceptional organization, my honest opinion is that the challenges can be handled with the talent we have onboard.

The Club’s year has been full of exceptional achievements. Function facilities remain fully booked, usage is high in the dining room and bar and big name newsmakers continue to fill the Professional Activities calendar. We have successfully settled both the Union and ex-Presidents’ cases, which ended an enormous bleed on our resources and has helped make the Club feel more like one family again.

Financially, however, we continue to face huge challenges and the multiple hefty decisions the Club is tasked to make will define its future.

The Club is in financial trouble, a picture that contradicts the last BOD financial report that declared a ¥30 million plus “profit” for 2014. This “profit” was actually due to a one-time ¥20 million paper adjustment regarding long-term depreciation required by koeki rules combined with the inclusion of a ¥10 million capital gain on employee retirement fund investments as Club income. In practical terms, however, we were up to ¥7 million in the red, according to an analysis by the finance committee.

Our budget for FY2016 projects a loss of ¥8 million. This year’s finance committee reports that with the Special Levy of ¥23 million reserved for our move to the Club’s new location in October 2018, we are already over ¥30 million in the hole. Certain steps have been taken to cope: Currently we are in the process of negotiating a new contract with IRS and are considering other ideas that will help to put the Club back in the black for the next two and a half years.

This year’s Board has reserved the Special Levy solely for paying the costs of moving to the new building, which may be as high as ¥100 million. We calculate there will be ¥83 million in this fund by the end of FY2018. This board has also spent a considerable amount of time debating the huge increase in rent the FCCJ will be required to pay for the new larger premises. Another major target for this year has been to increase membership, which is now at 1,920. New members are important to cope with the increase in spending when we move into the new Club.

The possibility of raising tax-free donations one of the benefits of FCCJ becoming a koeki has also become a reality. This is a formidable task that is currently been discussed by some of our dedicated members and a foremost concern is protecting the journalistic character of the FCCJ. Donations are tax deductible in part.

Summing up, these problems I’ve outlined require extreme vigilance now and over the coming years to restore and bolster our financial stability. Any Member who has helpful suggestions or wishes to help, should not hesitate to contact Club management. We welcome all as proactive stakeholders in our future.

I end now with a big thank you extended to all the Members and officers who have worked so hard this year. And I wish the new Board the best of luck in their endeavors to move forward.