Dear members,

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the extraordinary efforts made by several directors and members of staff over the last few months. As everyone knows, the FCCJ has been struggling with a number of significant challenges, and these people have worked incredibly hard for the club's success. Their accomplishments will go a long way toward putting the FCCJ on more stable footing as we head into the new fiscal year.

Former FCCJ president Isabel Reynolds, who is serving as first vice president this year, has negotiated an extension to the discount on our rent with our landlords at Mitsubishi Estate. This is vital to the club's well-being and long-term success. She has led those efforts over several years, and her poised, calm relationship-building approach has served us well. 

Ilgin Yorulmaz, the club’s second vice president, has successfully concluded a two-year negotiation with our labor union to reach an agreement on worker status and compensation. She has navigated long weeks of lawyer discussions, labor regulations and workplace complexity to get us to the other side of a thorny situation. Ilgin has also worked closely with our HR guru Toshiko Kawanami to uncover the most cost-effective strategies, and they have saved us millions of yen.

Taeko Nagayama and Drini Kakuchi have taken the lead in working through challenges facing our food and beverage services. After our multiple requests for improvements went unheeded, we decided to replace our current F&B provider. Drini and Taeko-san have worked hard to negotiate a beneficial termination with the old vendor and bring in new services. More on this to come. Mehdi Bassiri, our treasurer, has given Drini, Taeko-san and the club’s directors indispensable advice on the financial implications of our decisions.

We should also recognize the amazing efforts made by the club's senior leadership: Masayuki Hattori, Naomichi Iwamura and Yoshiyuki Hirado. I have witnessed close up the hard work and long hours they put in, particularly when Iwamura-san and I pushed through a round-the-clock blitz of due diligence to find legal representation for our recent lawsuits. They go beyond the call of duty every day to make sure the club is operating smoothly, and they don’t usually get the recognition they deserve. Please take a moment to thank each of them the next time you have a chance.

We are ending our fiscal year with momentum and confidence thanks to the dedicated work of these directors and staff … and many others I haven’t been able to name here and whose forgiveness I ask in advance. At times, it felt like we were going through a crisis a week as a result of the Covid pandemic. We should take a moment to appreciate how far we have come and how much we have accomplished.

Peter Elstrom