History of FMN

In 1995, every last Friday of every month, a group of Filipino executives working in various Japanese Shipping companies meet at Ginza, Tokyo, at a place named St. Tropez. It is a typical cafe and bar with soft lights and music. This ambiance was just right for the group to relax and eventually share some stories or jokes after a whole day of work in the fast pace city of Tokyo. One thing good about this place is that it had a Filipino bartender who assisted the members who were struggling also with the Japanese language.

During these meetings, experiences at work were shared. This relieved the stress and anxiety encountered daily in the maritime industry. Moreover, information and opinions were brought to the open. This assisted the initial group members with their daily decision-making process. One of the most frequently discussed issues during these gatherings was how to improve the quality and welfare of the Filipino seafarers.

As months went by, word traveled through friends and acquaintances. Little by little, the group began to increase in number. In time, a decision came about that an organization should formally be created in order to address the issues affecting the seafarers. At first, few were hesitant to proceed with the idea as it might create some conflict of interest with their present positions. However, the majority overrulled the fear citing that there are more advantages than disadvantages to have such an organization. Furthermore, members will have the opportunity not only to interact socially but also have an organized body that will be dedicated to serve the maritime industry. Thus was born the concept of the "Filipino Maritime Network in Japan" (FMN).

As the existence of the group spread, the Labor Attache of the Philippine Embassy encouraged the group to pursue the idea of forming a network. Thus, on April 19,1996, the first meeting of the group with the Laborr Attache was held at the Philippine Embassy. It was a night to be remembered as the members ventured forth in preparing the mechanics for the organization with the assistance of Atty. Rey Regalado.

On July 26, 1996, after months of deliberation, the charter officers were elected and committees were created that would oversee and execute the objectives of the organization. The next step was to lay down the foundation and set the necessary steps in order to function properly.

On October 29, 1996, the officers were inducted at the Tokyo Otani Hotel by then Hon. Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Philippine Secretary of Labor and Employment. The event was witnessed by Japanese Shipping Executives and the delegation of the Filipino Ship Management representatives of the "Philippine Shipping Mission to Japan."

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