IT WAS A GREAT pleasure to see the many Associate Members at their General Meeting on April 13. One 40-year Member quietly told me that it was his first time to attend. Clearly, interest has increased now that Associates are finally able to decide Club policy.

The meeting highlighted the great contributions Associate Members – especially the three Board Members – are making to the Club. Their business knowledge and insights have been invaluable.

Treasurer Yuichi Otsuka answered numerous questions about the Club’s accounting methods and various investments. He is revising our convoluted financial statements and welcomes suggestions on investing. Some information connected with the move is still confidential per our agreement with Mitsubishi Estate. For details on the Club’s FY2014 finances, with figures finalized this month, please attend the town meeting Otsuka-san will arrange at the end of the month.

A food poisoning claim was also discussed at last month’s BOD meeting. We take this very seriously and have since set up an emergency hotline so that IRS (our F&B outsourcer), the Food & Beverage Committee, General Manager and board, are all informed and can take fast, proper action.

Our inaugural “Meet the Press” seminar on April 21 with William “Billy” Mallard, Japan Deputy Bureau Chief at Reuters, was also well attended, revealing great interest in the event. The one-hour networking period after Billy’s talk and Q&A allowed everyone to mix and mingle with him. Don’t miss our next “Meet the Press” session on Tues. May 26 with Martin Fackler, Japan Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

This month we’ll also be launching our Membership Recruitment Incentive program that will run until Dec. 31. F&B vouchers from ¥5,000 to ¥20,000 will be given to FCCJ members who introduce a new member to the Club. For details, please see the website, as well as posters in the lobby and handouts available at the Front Desk.

I would like to urge everyone to make their opinions heard and their votes count in the upcoming election. As this has been my fifth consecutive term on the board (the limit decreed in the bylaws), I will not be running for director. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my years serving the Club, and I would like to thank everyone for the privilege of being president over the last two years.

Now with April showers behind us, I wish you a May full of gorgeous flowers.