Dear Fellow Members,

The FCCJ is emerging from the coronavirus lockdown to face new challenges, not the least of which is to put the Club onto a sounder financial footing by extending our professional and social activities.

As we prepare to upgrade our operations in the Club to the “new normal” of reduced hours, distanced tables at the Bar, temperature checks and name registration at the entrance, etc., we are hoping Japan will flatten the curve and get out from the coronavirus soon along with the world.

Here, I must express on behalf of the board our profound thanks and appreciation to our dedicated staff who have worked on throughout the lockdown. They will continue to do their utmost to maintain maximum sanitary health on the club premises. Our valued members’ continued cooperation will be appreciated in this regard. From June we expect more news events, while the library and work room are still open as usual.

Please visit your club and enjoy the benefits of your membership, as our vendor, Bplan, has been serving us in the lockdown time and is preparing to upgrade the service. In this regard, the board adopted a resolution at its emergency meeting on Friday May 29 to negotiate to upgrade the service to meet the expectations of the whole membership.

My thanks also go to the Number 1 Shimbun team who produced the magazine tirelessly and although the April issue made some news in town in the last week of May, over the cover design, at the end of the day we can confirm that the respect that the editor and designer have for Japan and its people is beyond doubt. Humor is in the eye of the beholder.

On that issue, the board confirmed to the membership and to the whole of Japan that the FCCJ has been and will remain a hub of the freedom of the press and expression in Japan. This is a not a matter of compromise but we also had to listen to our lawyers’ advice who saw this issue was ultimately one of copyright: a legal issue. If there had not been a copyright issue the BOD would not have agreed to the removal of the illustration from the website. The decision was unanimous. No one opposed it. We believe in following Japanese law that we respect.

This issue is hopefully behind us now. We look forward to the future and hope that at this existential crossroads in the club’s history we can avoid getting lost in the past.

Before any plans or marketing, we need to be a united membership. Civil wars destroyed more countries that external wars did.

Something was in my mind during my press conference: most questions were from FCCJ members who were not happy with removing the cover from the website. I was glad to hear my colleagues’ grilling questions. Some found that a “division.” I found it a healthy, direct and transparent show for all of those watched it live. Yes there was a difference of opinion among some members over the board decision, but this is normal in an organization that has a long tradition of free expression, and in a country that respects the freedom of reporting.

I personally see no constraints against reporters in this country, Japan, and I am confident this will only continue.

We, at FCCJ, are waiting eagerly to cover Tokyo Olympics’ next year, and hoping the current pandemic ends with the upcoming warm winds of the approaching summer.

In conclusion I remind you that June is traditionally the election month of the FCCJ. I hope the membership gets involved this year, and helps the club stabilize in our new grand location and building.

– Khaldon Azhari