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Tuesday 4 August 2020

The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2020

The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2020

Thank you to all the members who attended the Japan Society’s first ‘virtual’ Annual General Meeting; it was lovely to see so many old friends, even if it was only on a screen! A particular pleasure was to be able to welcome members from outside London, and as far afield as continental Europe, Japan and California, who would not normally have been able to join us in London.

Ambassador Nagamine, the Japan Society’s President, in his first AGM since arriving in London, looked back to the Christmas party last year at which he first met members, and hoped that circumstances would improve enough to allow us to meet again at the Embassy this December. Although this year’s planned visit by Their Imperial Highnesses the Emperor and Empress of Japan had had to be postponed, it would take place when the time was right. Similarly he hoped that the Olympic and Paralympic Games would be held successfully in 2021. He noted that our two governments were in the midst of negotiations on a new Economic Partnership Agreement and hoped that these would be successfully concluded, leading the way to further cooperation on security and defence, as well as culture and civil society. The Ambassador expressed his best wishes for the health and safety of Japan Society members and looked forward to continued cooperation, through the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-20 as well as other activities.

Ambassador Paul Madden joined us from Tokyo and also reflected on how far things had changed since his lecture to the Society in March. Japan had come through the pandemic relatively well compared to many other countries, including the UK. The reasons had not yet been fully explained, but good policies on ‘cluster-busting’, avoiding the ‘3 Cs’ and good underlying health programmes seem to have been instrumental in this. He had recently visited Tohoku, where life seemed to be relatively normal, albeit with appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures. Like Ambassador Nagamine, he spoke about the current trade negotiations and the hope that Japan would be the first country with which the UK signed an agreement post Brexit.

Before moving on to the formal business of the AGM, Bill Emmott and Heidi Potter looked back over 2019, reviewed activities in 2020 before and after lockdown and encouraged members to explore the new website, which had a wealth of resources and information about the Society’s activities. 

The following resolutions were passed unanimously.

"To receive and adopt the audited annual accounts of the Company for the financial year ended 31 December 2018 and the Trustees' Report."

"To reappoint Richard Place Dobson as auditors and to authorise the Board to approve their remuneration as thought fit."

"To re-appoint Sue Hudson as an Ordinary Trustee of The Japan Society."
"To elect Yuko Kawai as an Ordinary Trustee of The Japan Society." 
"To re-appoint Yuuichiro Nakajima as an Ordinary Trustee of The Japan Society." 
"To elect Clare Weaver as an Ordinary Trustee of The Japan Society." 
"To elect Rie Yoshitake as an Ordinary Trustee of The Japan Society."

Some 50 or so members stayed after the formal meeting to discuss the Society, membership and its programme of activity, with many constructive ideas and suggestions which we will try to build on in the coming months. If you were unable to join the AGM, and if you have not yet completed our short survey, we would love to hear your views. You can find the survey here