Table Speech

Initiation Speech

March 29, 2006

Mr. Naoji Yui,
Mr. Tetsuji Shibayama,

“Report of the Tokyo Rotary Club Clear Land−Cambodia Inspection Tour Report”

Mr. Naoji Yui,
Participation in the Cambodia Inspection Tour,
Representative Director,
Yui Associates Corporation

This is the second inspection of the Cambodian anti-personnel mine removal project following the one in 2005. There were 24 participants, consisting of 7 females and 17 males.
On the morning of February 9th, we were given a presentation by Daniel Bridges at the HALO TRUST headquarters. He explained the historical process of mines laid all over Cambodia by the combatants in power struggles since the independence in 1953 and the interventions by the United States, Russia, China, and the Vietnamese. The mine removal project has also played a role as a make-work measure as well as technical education measure, and HALO TRUST employs 1,100 people within Cambodia and 7,000 people worldwide in the mine removal tasks.
In the afternoon, we visited the mine museum owned by Akira, a former military person. Akira was forcibly given a K47 rifle to use as a child soldier and fought against Heng Samrin and Vietnamese forces, and was captured by Heng Samrin. He then fought against the Pol Pot army. After the war, he made mine removal a life-work, and has already removed some 20,000 mines.

On the following day, the 10th, we inspected the minefields in PREY CHAN Village. First, we visited an elementary school where we presented the children with pencils and notebooks. We then were given a presentation by Richard, the representative of HALO TRUST, and Mr. Makro, the Cambodian battalion commander. After observing the staff quietly removing and detonating the mines in the minefield under the blazing sun, an unveiling ceremony of the commemorative guide board was held.
We also had a chance of hearing from Mr. Brun, the president of Artisans Angkor, a local NPO, and Mr. Kiku, their Japanese manager.
They said to us, “they are fostering craftsmen who have traditional skills by making silk products using Cambodian traditional crafts and precious cocoons. We also managed the Cambodian Pavilion at the 2005 Aichi Exposition”. We met with many people who were passionate in rebuilding their country. We were deeply moved and started home.

“Social Contribution and Auctions−Fostering of Young Artists”

Mr. Tetsuji Shibayama,
Representative Director and Chairman,
ArtGaia Corporation

In order to lead a rich and fulfilled life as a human, I think it is necessary to participate, as a citizen, in activities that make contributions to society and culture. The number of volunteers who participate in such activities is increasing every year, but not to the point where it can be called common.
The foundation for social contribution is money. Most of the money is made up by donations. I want to focus on the function of intermediating donations that is being played at auctions. In the past, social contributions were supported only by the privileged few people in the society. In Japan, due to the postwar democratization, common people also gained awareness of contributing to the society. In the West, the practice of making donations in a time and at a place they liked, and in an amount they liked while enjoying participating in it has been deep rooted. An important role in spreading the donation culture is being played by charity auctions.
In a charity auction, individuals and companies donate goods or acts to a charitable organization. These are auctioned off and the revenues generated are donated to the organization. A charity auction is a tool, and not an end in and of itself. The end is in fostering a culture to donate in a mature society and enable many people to enjoyably participate in donation activities.
Related to making contributions to society, I will talk about developing young artists. I feel that supporting young artists is an important contribution to society. Support of young artists not only creates happiness for the current generation, but also creates happiness to future generations who are passed on their works. Traditional culture and classical arts and crafts that we have succeeded were in their day, contemporary art. In other words, without contemporary art classics do not exist. I would like you to think that buying the works of young artists is an important contribution to society that transcends generations.