AGM 2008

Minutes of the 111th Annual General Meeting of The Japan Society

Held at the Japanese Embassy, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1 at 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 4th June 2008.

The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming all those present; he gave a particular welcome to the Society’s President, the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Shin Ebihara, who had recently arrived in London.

Ambassador Ebihara
Ambassador Ebihara said that he was pleased to be taking up his position in London and looked forward to close collaboration with the Society. He looked forward to the forthcoming celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Britain. Prime Minister Fukuda, on his visit to the UK two days before, had met the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and had expressed great hopes for the year of commemorative events.

Christopher Purvis
Christopher Purvis explained that the most important development in 2008 had been the merger with Japan 21. This had doubled the Society’s breadth through the introduction of the education programme, both in terms of activity and turnover. It was now also involved in activities outside London. The traditional Japan Society activities: business and cultural events, pub evenings etc still continued as actively as ever.

The last year had also seen significant changes to the financial structure of the Society, with the introduction of a structured system of giving. There had been a wonderful response and the Society had been successful in raising significant sums of money.

Ambassador Ebihara had mentioned the Japan UK 150 celebrations, and the Society was working closely and actively with the Embassy on this.

In October 2007, Heidi Potter had become director of the Japan Society. She had taken over from Robert Guy who still remained very closely involved. As executive director, Robert had made an enormous contribution to the life of the Society and the Society was extremely grateful for his efforts.

Heidi Potter
Heidi Potter gave an overview of the educational programme, focussing on a few key projects. The small grants programme enabled grassroots and educational projects to take place throughout the country and complemented well the schools’ education programme. This was designed to ensure that people were aware of the many ways Japan could be incorporated into school life and that they had the resources to do so. There was increasing overlap between the traditional and ‘new’ Japan Society activities; through work with schools the Society was creating a new generation of people with an interest in Japan.

Agenda Items
Christopher Purvis outlined the three items on which members were asked to vote and explained that there would be a poll. Votes were counted after the meeting and the results announced during the subsequent reception to welcome Mr Ebihara. The outcome was as follows.

Ambassador Ebihara
Ambassador Ebihara said that he was pleased to be taking up his position in London and looked forward to close collaboration with the Society. He looked forward to the forthcoming celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Britain. Prime Minister Fukuda, on his visit to the UK two days before, had met the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and had expressed great hopes for the year of commemorative events.

Accounts 2007
The audited accounts for the period 1 January – 31 December 2007 and the council members’ report were approved.

Re-appointment of Richard Place Dobson as Auditors
It was agreed to reappoint Richard Place Dobson as auditors, and to authorise the Council to approve their remuneration.

Election to the Council
There were a possible eight vacancies for ordinary membership to the Council to be filled at this AGM and five candidates. All were duly elected:

  • Pauline Chakmakjian
  • Paul Dimond
  • Anna Dingley
  • Andrew Fraser
  • Tsunao Kijima

Council members who had served during the year, but who were standing down were individually thanked for their contributions to the society: Ken Abe, Martin Barrow, Richard Large, Timon Screech, Toshikazu Takei, David Warren.

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