Japan Society Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 12 June 2012 6.00pm
Embassy of Japan
London W1J 7JT
Registration deadline – Monday 11 June
The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2012 will be held on Tuesday 12 June 2012 at 6.00pm at the Embassy of Japan, London.
We hope to see many members at this year’s AGM. Please remember that the Embassy of Japan’s security policy means that you need to let us know in advance if you are planning to attend by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 020 7828 6330.
Please also bring with you to the meeting a form of photographic ID.
All documentation concerning the AGM, including the formal Notice of AGM and Proxy Voting Form, and the Trustees Report / Japan Society Accounts (ending 31 December 2011), are available here. Hard copies will be posted to all members who opted to receive official communications by post. Any other members who would like to be sent hard copies are asked to contact the office.
In addition to the formal business of the AGM, the meeting this year will include a presentation on progress in Tohoku as communities recover from the devastation of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and, in particular, on the Society’s partnership with the Sanaburi Foundation in distributing funds.
Japan Society Chairman, Christopher Purvis, has reached the end of his full term and will be standing down at this year’s AGM. He has done a great deal during his tenure, contributing to all facets of the Society’s work, and we have much to be grateful for. Following the AGM there will be a short reception where members will have the opportunity to say goodbye in person.
Japan Society Chairman’s Statement
As the leading charity at the heart of the UK-Japan relationship it is inevitable that the activities of the Japan Society this last year have been dominated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. I reported to you last year on the Society’s immediate response We have since then been overwhelmed by the reaction of both members and non-members, by their desire to learn more about Japan and to reach out to the people of Tohoku, and by their generous donations to the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund. By the year end the Fund had reached £682,437. The trustees’ report gives details on how this is being spent. The Society has played an important role in informing people in the UK about the situation in Tohoku and in developing links and increasing knowledge and understanding between our countries in response to the disaster.
At the annual general meeting I shall be standing down as your chairman after six years. During this time, the Society has made significant changes, both in its activities and in its financial structure.
The Society is a charity with an educational mission. Today we are accomplishing that mission both though our activities attended by our members and through engagement with a broader audience, particularly school children. It is important that we remain in touch with our roots as an organization promoting the academic study of Japan, providing a platform for learned discussion and debate about our two countries through lectures and other events, with a fine library and occasional publications. But an increasing number of our events are now open to the wider public. The larger part of our continuing expenditure is now devoted to our schools education programme. We cannot underestimate the importance of inspiring young people to look beyond their own borders to understand another culture – particularly one as rich and important as that of Japan.
This shift in activity has been reflected in a change in financial model. Almost all our expenditure is now funded by generous donors, individuals and companies, who share this vision for the UK-Japan relationship. The Society has doubled its annual turnover during these six years with income for continuing activities in 2011 reaching £407,138 generating a small surplus of £7,814. Free reserves are now £341,469. I would like to express my great appreciation to all those who have given such support over the last six years.
I would like to thank the two chief executives with whom I have had the pleasure of working, currently Heidi Potter and before her Robert Guy – together with all our committed staff. There is also a very large number of people who do invaluable work for the Society on a voluntary basis: our trustees, members of committees, organizers of events, lecturers, authors and contributors to our publications, Japan in Your Classroom volunteers. The Society is not a large charity but it is able to punch above its weight largely because of the unpaid efforts of all of these people – thank you very much.
In 2012 a major priority is to establish more effective communication with members and a wider public (including many who came forward in response to the earthquake but were hitherto unknown to us). We continue to develop a lively and varied programme of events (both of an academic and of a more popular kind) and encourage an increase in active participation in our activities. Last but not least we will build on continued interest from schools in Japan and capitalize on our nationwide network to increase the impact of our schools programmes.
You will be asked at the annual general meeting to elect a new chairman. Following a selection process by the nominations committee, your board is most happy to recommend Sir David Warren, currently British Ambassador in Japan, for this role. David’s credentials are impeccable; as well as tours of duty in Japan, he has previously served on the board and knows the Society well. Sir David is not expected to finish his embassy in Japan until the end of the year. It is therefore proposed that he be elected with effect from 1 January 2013. In the interim, your board has asked one of the vice chairmen, David Cairns, to serve as acting chairman, and he has kindly agreed.
During 2011, we bade farewell from the board of trustees to Paul Dimond, Andrew Fraser, Jun Kobayashi , Koji Nakamura and Ken Okaniwa, whom I should like to thank for their contributions to the Society. We welcomed to the board Andrew Cahn, Lydia Gomersall, Hiroshi Hattori, Hitoshi Noda, Akihiro Tsuchiya and Hiroshi Suzuki.
At the annual general meeting in June, Sean Curtin and Sandy Sano will, like me, be standing down after six years on the board. I should like to thank them both enormously for their contributions to the Society; Sean has created the highly successful Japan Society Review (which he will continue to edit), while Sandy has been a valuable member of the development and membership committees and has done much to make the Japan Matsuri a permanent event in the London calendar.
Five other trustees will have reached the end of their first three year term on the board and will therefore be retiring by rotation, Ryoichi Bamba, Martin Day, Stephen McEnally, George Olcott and Michael Spencer. Ryoichi Bamba has decided to stand down as he returns to Japan; we shall be sad to lose him and I owe him great thanks for his support. Martin, Stephen, George and Michael have all indicated their willingness to stand for re-election; all are enthusiastic and valuable members of the board, which warmly recommends their re-election.
There are three further vacancies for ordinary trustees. Your board recommends the following for election: Graham Holman, Michiaki Nakamura, and Tetsuro Terada. They all share a strong wish to encourage the development of stronger UK-Japan relations. The Japan Society is fortunate to have active participation from both Japanese and non-Japanese members and thus to be able to act as a bridge between different communities and interest groups. It is important that this is reflected in its board. Further details of the candidates, the voting procedure and the arrangements for the meeting will be circulated to members.
Finally, I should like to express my thanks to our President, Ambassador Hayashi, for the great support he has shown to the Society since taking up his post in February 2011. He and his colleagues at the Embassy of Japan have been enormously generous with their time and support, despite the particular pressures they have been under in the past year.
The annual general meeting will be held this year at 6.00pm on Tuesday 12 June 2012 at the Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly. In addition to the formal business there will be a presentation on the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund. I look forward to seeing many members on that occasion.
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