The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, founded in 1945 and one of the world’s oldest press clubs, elected its board of directors for 2015-2016 on Thursday.
James Simms, a contributor to Forbes, was elected president. Peter Langan of Bloomberg News will serve as first vice president and Suvendrini Kakuchi of University World News in the U.K. as second vice president. Mary Corbett of Cresner Media will serve as secretary and associate member Yuichi Otsuka will serve as treasurer.
Additional board members include Imad Ajami of IRIS Media, Masaaki Fukunaga of The Sanmarg, associate member Milton Isa, and well-known author Robert Whiting.
The board members assume their posts at a time of declining membership and internal problems at FCCJ, and concern about increased pressure on foreign journalists by the government over reporting related to historical issues.
This year, the first FCCJ Freedom of the Press awards were given to foreign and Japanese journalists fighting for press freedom in Japan. Winners included Kenji Goto, who was executed in Syria by militants belonging to the Islamic State group in February.
Japan Times contributor Jon Mitchell, who has reported extensively on the storage and use of toxic military defoliants such as Agent Orange in Okinawa and other issues surrounding the U.S. military presence there, won the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.