Dear Fellow Members,

I would like to thank the staff, the management, our vendor Bplan, committees, and the Board for doing their best to maintain limited operations at the Club at this time when Japan is trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this crisis forced us to downsize our activities, it also gave us the chance to hold remote press conferences. With the management and members’ help, the staff both on the spot at the Club as well as those working from home succeeded in providing chances for members to hear speakers and even ask them questions live.

I have been coming to the Club regularly and have seen journalists and other members coming to have a quick meal at the Bar. The Library, with the staff at reduced hours, and the open work room are also supporting journalists and members who visit for reporting and gathering news and information.

I think our Club stands out as a supporter for the media at this critical time when journalism should not leave the information gathering process to the elements but be interactive in doing the job. The grand support by FCCJ members is what made this a reality, and I have not enough words to express appreciation.

With the logistic restrictions on information gathering, and with almost no press conferences being given, other than online, our Club has become more important to stay open and provide as much assistance to journalists to function effectively as possible.

I think our Club stands out as a supporter for the media at this critical time when journalism should not leave the information gathering process to the elements

I have to admit it was difcult to reach balanced decisions on matters such as keeping the Club semi-open despite strong suggestions to shut it down.

I am hoping the Professional Activities Committee continues to expand the speakers’ program, and that other committees follow, such as holding Book Breaks and whatever can be done online. I am also planning to hold a few President Forums for limited numbers of attendants with live streaming.

I can’t stress enough the importance of the Club maintaining as many professional activities as possible. The global economy seems to be collapsing around us and we need to be in the center of reporting on that, and facilitating the eforts of our members.

We will move forward and possibly even hold remote music concerts on Saturday night for our members who have trouble getting into Tokyo.

On House and Property issues, the committee is working with the office to contact newspapers in Tokyo to resume sending us their Extra Editions of breaking news. We used to have that at the FCCJ reception at the good days of Denki building, when Club members could pick up a copy at the reception for free.

Furthermore, we plan to restore members’ book sales at the FCCJ reception desk. At the Denki building, Club members could sell copies of their books at the Club reception desk with a 20 percent commission for the Club.

Restoring the bulletin board of press conferences, private ads, and events, etc. is also under discussion. At the Denki building, we had bulletin boards for that near the reception and the elevator. They displayed notice of press conferences by the political parties and business federation, companies, embassies, etc. This was useful for Club members, particularly freelance journalists.

Have a Golden Week.

– Khaldon Azhari