Table Speech

“Official Visit by the Governor”

July 19, 2006

Mr. Shuuei Ozawa,
Governor of Rotary International District 2580, Tokyo Oume RC

 William B. Boyd, President of Rotary International, raised the target, “LEAD THE WAY”. The phrase, “starting from you”, cropped up in my mind as words that I would feel affinity with.

 In the regional convention held in February this year there was a remark, “If picking up cigarette butts is thought of as a service, the raising people who will not throw away cigarette butts would be a service befitting the Rotary.” I thought, “How true”, and I concurred. The issue of youth development is a service worthy of Rotarians.

 The work experience program of the Youth Development Committee has reached a stage this year where the work experience program can be implemented for high school students from each district. Liberating the workplace to youth and pass on the wisdom of the predecessors to the youth is, I think, a significant service as a Rotarian.

 In terms of topics regarding the Club Council, I am hearing from many districts the reality of newly entering members leaving the club. President Boyd comments that, “there may be some reasons why new members leave the club, but the fact that chance of serving is not being provided may one of the more important reasons.”

 In addition, a “sense of isolation” is also cited as a reason. New members join with the expectation that the Rotary is an organization that serves in a way worthy of a Rotarian. Therefore, if not given the chance to serve, the member may feel an increasing sense of betrayal, and ultimately leave the Rotary. I think that it is the job and the mission to find a way to serve as a Rotarian and pass onto new members.

 I have raised as this year’s theme for the district, “Originally no east or west, but of one mind”. “Originally no east or west” means that originally there is no east or west. When gazing upon the earth from space, where is east and where is west? East and west is what the humans inhabiting the earth decided.

 The same can be said of north and south. “Of one heart” means that while each individual member has his or her own thoughts, ultimately it is a gathering of persons with the same aim, and is an existence with one mind, burning with the ideal of service.

 This is it for the theme for the district, but as the guideline for action, within a simple and enjoyable club operation, I would like to throw out the question, “how ought the Rotary be in the future?”

 Strengthening membership is a lifeline for the club. It is a strengthening objective for RI. I would like to see a net increase of 1 member. In addition, I would like to see a 10% improvement in the attendance rate.

 Here, I would like to touch on last year’s theme for RI, and which is also a never-ending theme, “service beyond oneself”. I think that heart of charity where service to others forgetting oneself leads to service beyond self. There is a word, “kindness”. Kindness means helping others with a kind heart, but at times it may be necessary to admonish a person’s ego, and sense of indulging and reprimand with a harsh heart. The Dalai Lama says, “People can live without religion or ideology. One can deny need for any wisdom. But love and sympathy are requisites for all people.”

 “Love and sympathy are requisites for all people” is simple and clear truth, and it is my philosophy and my belief.

 We, at one time during the Bubble Era, acted as if strengthening membership was the only mission for the Rotary. What we ought not to forget as the principle is that Rotary is a gathering of the selected people. Without this principle, there is no Rotary.

 Let us all enjoy our future Rotary life with service with our hands, friendship in our hearts, and elite awareness as our sensibility.