Dear members, Today  marked  one  of  the  highlights  of my time so far as president of the club.  I  was  honored  to  take  part  via  Zoom  in  the  awards  ceremony  for  our  Swadesh  DeRoy  Scholarship.  The  quality  of this year’s entries on the theme of “Isolation and  Engagement:  Japan  at  a  Turbulent  Time”  was  phenomenal,  as  you  will  see  if  you  take  a  look  at  the  winning  photos,  which  are  on  dis-play  near  the  reception.  The  award-winning  print article will appear in a future issue of the Number  1  Shimbun.  The  younger  generation  may be suffering in all sorts of ways under the pandemic  and  state  of  emergency,  but  they  have  certainly  not  lost  any  of  their  energy  or  creativity,  and  that  gives  me  great  hope  for  the future of journalism. I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to meet any of the winners. I’d like to thank the   Scholarship   Committee   co-chairs   Abby   Leonard  and  Kazu  Takada  for  their  hard  work  in  organizing  a  highly  successful  competition,  despite the extremely difficult circumstances.

Turning  to  more  mundane,  but  important,  matters I’d like to thank all those members who voted on our budget and business plan for the coming  fiscal  year,  as  well  as  on  several  pro-posed  changes  to  our  rules.  The  results  were  announced by email for those who weren’t able to attend the General Membership Meeting, so I  won’t  explain  them  here,  except  to  note  that  the  budget  was  passed,  along  with  a  slightly  increased  levy  to  replace  the  one  that  comes  to an end this month. As you will have noticed, we introduced a new web-based voting system for the first time. After the hiccups in last year’s Board  election,  which  ended  up  wasting  a  lot  of  time  and  money,  as  well  as  causing  heart-ache  for  a  number  of  members,  it  was  one  of  my  priorities  to  modernize  our  voting  system  when I became president. While there are a few details  still  to  iron  out,  I  think  the  new  system  is  clearly  far  superior  to  email  voting  and  will  help  us  improve  efficiency  and  cut  costs.  My  sincere  appreciation  goes  to  Reed  Stevenson,  who  brought  his  tech  skills  to  bear  on  the  introduction  of  the  new  system  and  to  Kanji  Vicki Beyer for a heroic effort in improving and clarifying parts of our bylaws. While proposed amendments to the Articles of Association did not  reach  the  required  two-thirds  majority  on  this  occasion,  we  will  be  putting  them  to  the  vote again, possibly in June.

As always, a raft of interesting events contin-ues at the Club. To highlight just a couple – next month sees a screening of “Umibe no Kanojo-tachi,” a fictionalized account of the plight fac-ing  some  of  the  foreign  workers  who  come  to  Japan on the technical intern training program. Do  also  make  time  to  watch  our  topical  press  conference  with  Myanmar  activists,  available  on YouTube, if you weren’t able to attend.

From  my  office  desk  I  can  see  the  cherry  blossoms starting to peep through in the Impe-rial  Palace  gardens,  reminding  me  that  time’s  flying  toward  the  end  of  the  current  Board’s  term. We’ll try to pack as much progress as we can into the final few months.

  • Isabel Reynolds has been reporting for Bloomberg in Tokyo since 2012. She has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and been a regular member of the FCCJ for most of that time.