Dear members,

Since it is the end of June, I was hoping I would be able to write with news about the new board that will be taking over the FCCJ leadership. However, we were not able to elect a complete board and therefore we will have a runoff election later in July. More on this below.

First, however, I am very happy to announce that we have struck a contract with a new food and beverage vendor. ANA Catering (ANAC) will be taking over the F&B operation this fall. The subsidiary of Japan’s largest airline has some exciting plans for applying its culinary expertise from luxury hotel dining operations, airport lounges and catering at our club. More details about the transition will be announced in the coming weeks.

Taeko Nagayama led a task force that has interviewed multiple vendors over the past few months, with support from Suvendrini Kakuchi, our staff and the rest of the F&B committee. As I alluded to in a previous message, Taeko-san has put in an incredible amount of work and has pulled off an heroic accomplishment for the club. As some members are aware, we were left in a tight spot after experiencing difficulties with our previous vendor. We think that this new contract puts us on strong footing to be able to make F&B a key foundation to support the club’s operations.

The contract was signed after an extensive search and many rounds of negotiations, following the boards’ endorsement of ANAC. The FCCJ task force held briefings with ANAC management and chefs to share our history, traditions and membership culture, and was encouraged by the impressive attention the company showed to gain a deeper knowledge of our club.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to ANAC. Thank you to Taeko-san and Drini and the rest of the task force for their hard work and dedication.

We were hoping to be able to complete this year’s election by the time the General Membership Meeting (GMM) was held on June 29. Unfortunately, we did not have enough candidates to be able to complete the board appointments. We are still in need of a kanji candidate for the next election. We will be holding a runoff to fill the vacant posts in the next few weeks.

Finally, we fielded a number of questions at the GMM, including several about the club’s finances. The treasurer, Mehdi Bassieri, explained that the club is in better shape now than it was a year ago, and in much better shape than it was three years ago in the middle of the Covid pandemic. Our cash reserves have increased over the past year and we have had positive cash flow on a regular basis. This puts us in a better position to meet our financial obligations, including pension payments due this year and next.

We still face challenges, of course. The club continues to face declining membership and pressure on revenue. Our membership marketing committee has been working hard to improve this situation.

If you believe in the mission of the FCCJ and are looking for ways to support it, please introduce your friends to the club and bring them for lunch or dinner, or volunteer for one of the committees or other activities at the club.

Thank you for your continued support.

Peter Elstrom