THE WEEKS HAVE BEEN SPEEDING BY, THANKFULLY WITH October’s cooler days and a whiff of fall in the air. On top of the agenda is our new membership campaign launched Oct. 1. We’re offering enticing deals in the Regular, Journalist/Writer and Associate membership categories for a limited time only. New Regular and Journalist/Writer memberships will receive credit on their joining fees. New Associate members will receive a generous ¥100,000 credit. Sponsors (FCCJ members who introduce a new member) will receive a dining certificate worth ¥10,000 and ¥20,000 respectively. The campaign is a great opportunity to promote our many excellent services, including our new website!

Oct. 15 marks the launch of the renewed website, at Our hardworking website team, Greg Starr (Editor-in-chief) and Said Karlsson (Multi media Editor) in collaboration with Next, Inc. have created a highly accessible site with a new design and simplified interface. It offers multi-media functions such as live streaming and connectability to social media. It also has a responsive design for smart phones and tablets. The front page highlights more of the Club’s facilities and events beyond PAC, such as dining, the library, film screenings and entertainment so viewers can get a better sense of what’s going on at the Club. It includes a “Dispatches” blog that showcases the work of Club members through links to their articles. The website team says that the site is set up for further development and they are open to ideas and comments.

We’re uploading videos from most of our press events onto YouTube to broaden the knowledge of the clubs activities. We also plan to use YouTube as the host for our live streaming service, but in order to do so we need 100 subscribers. It’s super easy to become one. Just visit the FCCJchannel page at FCCJchannel and click the “subscribe” button.

The number of live streaming viewers has steadily increased, along with our announcements and visual/sound quality. The PAC presser on Sept. 24 with Gregory Jaczko received 80 viewers from around the globe, the largest number so far. During his talk, the controversial former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission stressed the importance of getting the public involved in government plans to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors. An impactful public voice is always needed. This reminded me of the Club’s vital role as platform for freedom of speech. Our live streaming service and social media connections will significantly strengthen this platform and our public reach.

Interestingly, the Freedom of the Press Committee is taking on this issue in a unique way. With the coordinated help of FCCJ staff, it is now building a Journalist Information Service to better inform our members about media events. To quote chairman Michael Penn, “The service is now being fashioned to ensure that the FCCJ becomes a crucial artery by which foreign journalists can gain the information they need to do their jobs more effectively.”

We are planning to increase our member services. One example is a quarterly buffet dinner for new members to meet the president, board of directors and selected journalists and associate members. This could also be an excellent networking opportunity. A monthly meet for new and old members in the Main Bar is another option. Please let me know your ideas.

On Sept. 18, I was delighted to meet the 15 student members attending the DeRoy Memorial Scholarship Committee workshop with keynote speaker Mr. Jogin Bae, counselor for political affairs at the Korean Embassy in Tokyo. The Scholarship Fund’s annual fundraising dinner will be held on Friday, Dec. 6, so please attend if you can. It’s for an honorable cause and promises to be an enjoyable evening. (For inquiries please contact the front desk.)

Attracting students and young people to the Club is a major goal not only to revitalize our membership but as part of our upcoming koeki (public service) status. On this front, we’re excited to announce that our collaboration with Tokyu/ IRS and JTB has already borne fruit we’ve booked a high school tour and journalist talk for February next year. High school and college tours normally take up to two years to arrange, but interest in the FCCJ has been way beyond expectations. Indeed, the Club has so much to offer.

— Lucy Birmingham