Bill Watanabe (Rafu Shimpo photo)

Dear Editor:

Over 100 interested participants came out for the JACCC Annual Meeting held on Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, 2012 to hear updates on the status of the organization and to express their concerns and suggestions for the future. Staff presented a snapshot of the activities and programs of the JACCC and eight members of the JACCC Board of Directors were on hand to engage in the ensuing discussion facilitated by community advocate Alan Nishio.

A realistic and sometimes stark report was given by board and staff regarding the financial condition of the JACCC, which includes a  mounting level of debt. The picture also included a hard-working staff being over-stretched to continue to provide quality cultural arts programming.

As the interim executive director for the past three months, I have been able to witness up close the dedication of both board members and staff, and I have been inspired. There can be no sugar-coating of the cash-flow situation, which I would term as dire.

On the other hand, there are a number of opportunities and options that the board will have to confront in the next few months, which can set the course for a new vision and new direction for the JACCC. I presented to the gathered audience that we are currently looking at:

1) Leasing up all available office spaces at the JACCC;

2) Entertaining a possible sale of a portion of the JACCC facilities; or

3) Partnering with a real estate developer for the site.

Options #2 and 3 would of course involve a major shift in the JACCC’s current operations and vision.

A new executive director for the JACCC will be hired by January 2013 and will be tasked, along with the board, to lead the organization through new and perhaps uncharted waters. Many people who came to the Annual Meeting affirmed the importance of the JACCC to the Nikkei community, and also expressed their desire to help and support the JACCC. I hope they and those who read this letter to the editor will put their concerns into concrete action to become donors, members, or volunteers for the JACCC.

Anyone who would like to help can talk to me about their thoughts and ideas by calling me at (213) 628-2725, ext. 101 or emailing me at, and I will reply as soon as I can.

I want to thank those who made the time to attend the Annual Meeting — and I hope we can work together to ensure the future of the JACCC for generations to come.

Bill Watanabe
Interim JACCC Executive Director

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