Dec. 17 – TODAY WE RECEIVED THE result of the month long referendum on proposed new FCCJ Articles of Association to meet the requirements of revised legislation on non profit organizations.

To pass, a “yes” vote was required by two thirds of 311 Regular Members in good standing a very high hurdle that was not achieved last time it was tried, 30 years ago. So this result can be read as significant:

Total votes cast: 273 (87%). Yes: 242 (77.8% of eligible voters). No: 27 (8.7%). Did not vote: 38 (12.3%). Undetermined: 1.

As a result, the new Articles will be submitted to the Cabinet Office for approval. Thanks to all those who took the time to vote.

This was not a referendum on the current Board of Directors and it was not even about choosing koeki (public interest) non profit status over ippan (general). With the new Articles we can still choose either as the differences in language required for koeki vs. ippan are minimal. But had this not passed we would have been obliged to immediately go through the huge effort of another referendum because the current Articles will be invalid from November.

Despite knowing all this, the clique that opposes everything done by our Board tried to defeat the motion, and to make this into a referendum on the Board, outsourcing of our food & beverage operations and koeki status. Clearly, they have failed abjectly.

Even if you assign every abstention and the one spoiled ballot to the “no” side (which stretches belief), only 66 Regular Members (21.2%) did anything other than vote “yes.” More likely, the “no” is no more than the same 45 to 50 people who have supported this clique in the past three FCCJ elections.

Bizarrely, though, the “no” clique does not accept the verdict of our democratic process. Today, they challenged the integrity of the referendum process. And the results of the past three elections they have variously attributed to “a very efficient marshaling of votes,” the use of “minibuses” to herd Members to the poll, and a misinformed electorate.

The suggestion that our Members can be herded like sheep, or that professional journalists are unable to grasp the affairs of their own Club, is beyond insulting. But worse than insult is the injury resulting to the Club from repeated lawsuits by this cohort. This year, much of the ¥2 million-plus the FCCJ spent on legal fees has gone to defending against their suits. Now, as you will read on the right, the clique intends to sue again.

If today’s referendum result signals anything more than overwhelming acceptance of new Articles that do not presuppose koeki or ippan, it says clearly to the “no” clique: withdraw your frivolous lawsuit and devote yourselves to winning votes in the June 2013 FCCJ election. The democratic process must be respected.

— Georges Baumgartner