Table Speech

An Address for the Last Meeting of 2003 Rotary Year

June 30th,2004

Outgoing Club President
Mr.Tsuneo Wakai
Club Secretary
Taito Yamamoto

For the last meeting of this Rotary year held on June 30, outgoing Club President Tsuneo Wakai addressed the club:

On July 2 last year I rang the bell for the first time and for the past year I have been able to preside over this club without event notwithstanding my shortcomings which is due to the support and cooperation that our members have extended to me.

 Many things have happened during the past year. First, 5 of our members have passed away. A further 12 have left the club due to illnesses or other reasons. Let us pray for the souls of the departed and wish those who have left, well.

 On the other hand we have gained this year 20 wonderful new members thanks to the efforts of Vice President Kurosawa, Chairman Kamio, and yourselves.
These new members have already become integrated into our membership and share with us our Rotary meetings.

 Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Rotary, the Centennial Bell arrived in Tokyo on November 26 through the efforts of incoming President Mizuno. This was possible due to the Micronesia Pompeii Rotary Club allowing us priority for the Bell, and we are grateful for his consideration. We have seen President Majiyagbe’s Lend a Hand in action.

 We have strengthened our ties with our sister club of Washington D.C. 200 dogwood saplings were received as a gift from the Ardmore RC which have been planted in beds through the help of the Tokyo Chofu Murasaki RC to be nursed until they will be transplanted.

 Furthermore, responding to a request from the Rotary Club of Bangalore Midtown of India for dolls to be placed in their museum, we received as gifts dolls from our members which we sent to them.

 Two important international meetings were held in Japan in the past year.
One was the RI International Convention which took place in Osaka with 44 members attending and another 20registering. 47,000 registrants were a new record for International Convention, and in the evening we invited members from our sister Washington D.C. Club to join us for our Tokyo Club night.

 Mention must be made of the commemorative postage stamp issued for the Convention. We were late in applying for it, but through the special efforts of member Ikuta, who is the President of the Japan Postal Public Corporation it was made possible.

 Another international meeting took place in September last year at the Disney Resort. This was the Japan – Korea Friendship Conference, organized by Japanese clubs who have entered into sister club relations with Korean clubs. I was impressed with how Japanese clubs were trying to enlarge the circle of friendship with their Korean counterparts by studying the Korean language and other means.

 We hosted an exchange student, Miss Anniina Jokinen from Finland, and I thank our members and their families for hosting her.
When I assumed office, I gave the club 3 targets, 1.Stop the decrease in membership and solve the issue of female member 2.Drastic measures to stop our annual deficit 3.Improve attendance

 Regarding attendance, we have been able to attain a 70% attendance for our members. For our deficit, this has been remedied by cost cutting of our operations and an increase of 10,000 in our annual dues. On the female members issue, we have been able to clarify the points on which the opinions of our members differ, but time has run out, and we must defer the issue to President Mizuno’s year.

 Personally, I feel that our Japanese society is turning inwards or in other words becoming self-centered and lacking consideration for others. And single track mind with hasty decisions seem to be popular.

 I do not think that we have lost the ability to think through difficult issues and not jump to conclusions. But currently, even the use of force is being condoned to for the sake of solution.

 Hoping that Rotary will not allow this to happen, I wish to close my talk.
Finally, I wish to thank our Directors, Secretary Yamamoto, Assistant Secretaries Igarashi and Kawakami and the members of our office staff, with tank also to each and every member for your support.

 Club Secretary Taito Yamamoto gave his report:

 I wish to thank President Wakai, the Directors for their guidance, and Assistant Secretaries Igarashi and Kawakami for their support. Thanks also to the office staff for their great help.

 Our President has mentioned the 3 targets for this year. Our attendance as of the end of May was 72.33% which is somewhat of an improvement over the previous year, and I would like to say that this was due to enhanced interest in our meetings.

 We held 45 regular meetings this year. Of these, we invited guest speakers on 22 occasions of which 22 were male and 7 female. Their interesting topics surely had an effect on improving attendance. We had 2 dinner meetings which were family parties and a Christmas Family Party which responded to RI President Majiyagbe’s call for enhancing involvement of family members in Rotary.

 We gained 20 new members and lost 17, and are finishing the year with 332 members, an increase over 329 with which we started the year.

 Regarding our finances, we increased our light lunches from 2 to 3 times a month, and our Birthday Spoons are now being purchased from our Niko-Niko Box funds. 

 With the help of our office staff, we have been able to reduce our operating costs, and with the revision of our annual membership fee, I believe that our finances are now on solid ground.

 The Vocational Service Committee was able to have a visit made to our Self-Defense Forces Headquarters in Ichigaya.

 The Centennial Bell arrived in November, and this was because it has been visiting the first Rotary Club in various countries.

 The Rotary Club of Ardmore gave us 200 dogwood saplings in memory of their Past RI Vice President George Uhlig. We sent 300 cherry tree saplings in return when we received their first gift of dogwood saplings when we celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 1970. Following the Osaka Convention members of the Ardmore RC and we hosted a diner for them at the Imperial Hotel.

 We were able to strengthen our sister club relations with the Washington D.C. RC which was made 22 years ago when my father was President of this club. At our District Conference, the youth exchange program was explained by the Chairman of the Sister Club Committee, Rotarian Matsubara, and we thank him for his efforts.

We believe that we have been playing our role internationally to celebrate the Centennial.

 Several other matters come to mind. Our attendance committee sent letters to members whose attendance was in the 30% - 40% range and also their sponsors.
Mush tact was required in order not to give a forbearing impression, and I believe that they have succeeded in this.

 Celebrating the Centennial of the Hibiya Park, our club donated 5 of the 100 benches which were replaced. If you visit Hibiya Park, please look for the benches which have a Rotary motto.

 The music played by our pianist during the moment of silent prayer for the deceased has been changed from that of a Christian hymn to a few bars from Beethoven’s Pathetic Sonata in order to make it neutral.

 I learned much in serving President Wakai this year. His thoughtful consideration and positive attitude towards Rotary were an experience for which I am grateful.

 When we started this year, President Wakai told me that in Rotary the most important matter was to be in contact with refinement, and learn from this.
I am grateful that I was able to do so during this year, and I thank you deeply for giving me this opportunity.