Board of Directors Meeting held on April 21, 2014

FUTI’s Board of Directors meeting, held on April 21st via teleconferencing, was presided over by President Kobayashi. The meeting started with the introduction of Mr. Kazutaka Yamaji, the newly appointed Director General of the Development Division of UTokyo. Prior to this appointment Mr. Yamaji was responsible for the operations of the Alumni Office of UTokyo.
Mr. Shuta Kobayashi, Secretary, went over the minutes of the last Annual Board meeting held on September 21, 2013. After the approval of the minutes, Treasurer Dr. Yuichiro Kuwama reported on the current status of this fiscal year’s fundraising (see the related article). Then Dr. Masaaki Yamada, Director of University Relations, reported on the selection result of this year’s summer scholarship awards (see the related article).
Then Dr. Masako Osako, FUTI Staff, suggested that we need to attract a larger audience to FUTI’s Facebook page ( A recommendation was made to form a study group and come up with specific ideas to build a larger cyber community of FUTI supporters. President Kobayashi asked Ms. Osako to invite Dr. Shigenori Matsushita, Ms. Amy Vaida (FUTI’s Webmaster), Mr. Yamaji and others to form a study group.
Kobayashi reported on a recent inquiry from a company that showed interest in placing advertisements on FUTI’s website. He made a preliminary suggestion that we should look into advertisements on the website as a new source for revenue. (After the meeting, Dr. Matsushita wrote a memo, supporting Kobayashi’s idea, and suggesting several approaches. Ms. Vaida feels that the current website must be revamped and enhanced by implementing, for instance, a technique for search engine optimization, if we are to place ads on our website.)
Kobayashi then said that it would be convenient to FUTI donors in Japan, if we could open a bank account in Japan. Some participants responded pessimistically, however, by saying that banks in Japan are increasingly unwilling to take foreign-based organizations as new clients. Its feasibility will be further looked into by Kobayashi with help from Messrs. Yamaji and Yoshida.
The last and most important item for discussion was concerned with a possible new name for FUTI. While many Board members seemed to endorse a new name that carries UTokyo instead of UTokyo (e.g., Friends of UTokyo), Kobayashi said , “We should not easily adopt UTokyo as our new name, because there are some important FUTI donors who are strongly opposed to the idea of doing away with the long-cherished abbreviation UTokyo. “Kobayashi also questioned how seriously this new abbreviation has been adopted on the UTokyo campus itself. Kobayashi reminded the participants of the fact that the acronym “UTokyo” (in Roman letters) was adopted as the official name just several years before it was switched to “UTokyo” last year. The new acronym “UTokyo,” when pronounced, is almost invariably mistaken as “New Tokyo,” a famous restaurant chain in Tokyo, added Kobayashi. The Board agreed that we need to further discuss this matter before we possibly take a vote.
Soon after the meeting, Dr. Yamada proposed a new candidate name “Friends of UTokyo, Inc.: 東大友の会.” Kobayashi will seek an endorsement from the major donor, and will soon call for a special Board meeting for a possible resolution.
This year’s Annual Board of Directors meeting, to be joined by with Advisory Committee as in the past, is scheduled to be held on Sunday September 28, 2014 at a conference room of the Community Exchange Resource, which is located in lower Manhattan.

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