Table Speech


“Address to the First Regular Meeting of Fiscal 2008”

July 2, 2008

Mr. Koichi Takenaka,
Mr. Mitsuhiro Kurokawa,

“Address to the First Regular Meeting of Fiscal 2008”

Mr. Mitsuhiro Kurokawa,
President,
Rotary Club of Tokyo

 Mr. Dong Kum Lee, the President of Rotary International for this fiscal year commented, “The theme that I have chosen for this year is ‘Make Dreams Real’. I will continue to address the RI priority items (insurance, elimination of world hunger, water and improving the literacy rate), which were proposed by my predecessor. I want to improve the current circumstances in which we see 30,000 infants 5 years of age or younger die each day of preventable causes”.
 In Japan, we are blessed with a life that is peaceful, sanitary, and has many material comforts. I have never heard any discussions here of addressing the literacy rate problem. There is little sense of crisis in our lives. I felt that we need to have a stronger sense of the crises occurring in the world and understand the policy espoused by President Lee.
 The Rotary Club of Tokyo was established in 1920 under the slogan of “The Ideal of Volunteer Service”. According to the “50-Year History of the Rotary Club of Tokyo”, in support of relief efforts for the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, after a just few years of our establishment, $89,800 of donations were received from 503 clubs in 17 countries around the world. The Rotary Club of Tokyo immediately used the funds to build facilities for many orphans who had lost parents in the disaster, and to support the surviving families of policemen who had died in the line of duty. On the other hand, members who were themselves victims put aside their own situations, and first began to help auxiliary organizations
 I was strongly impressed with the founding spirit of ”Ideal of Voluntary Service” of the Rotary Club seen in the friendship and magnanimous support from the Rotarians of many countries that came to the aid of Rotary Clubs Japan, which had only been around for a mere three years at the time. If we are to learn from this strength of will, I feel that the Rotary Club of Tokyo should focus more than ever on social and international dedicated services in its activities.
 The Rotary Club of Tokyo undertakes active committee works each year but for the reasons I have just mentioned, this year I want to focus efforts on the ”Yoneyama Memorial Foundation Projects”. The goal of the project, founded in 1952, is to promote the understanding of a “Peaceful Japan” among the world, with the pledge that Japan will never again wage war. This is a scholarship program that has international perspective, through which students from overseas meet with Japanese who wish for peace and together the two create a relationship of trust through the scholarship projects. Up to now, these projects have provided support to some 14,000 recipients, but since the year before last, they have established a “Local Recruitment Scholarship” to uncover excellent students who are not able to come to Japan with financial difficulties. This project is currently moving forward in Vietnam.
 95.8% of the former Yoneyama Scholars are from Asia. Through ”School Friends” the mutual understanding between Japan and the Yoneyama Scholars’ countries are deepened and, if this leads to peace in Asia, the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation Projects are said to be an activity that realizes the Rotary Club goal of the “Promotion of International Understanding and Peace”. This is a program created by the Rotary Club of Tokyo, of which we should be very proud. Sadly speaking, this great projects’ donation balance is declining. We hope for even further cooperation from each of our members.
In order to have the opportunity to assemble former Yoneyama Scholars, listen to their current activities, and hold discussions, I have made a request to the Yoneyama Committee that they hold a “Yoneyama Month” in October of this year. Through the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation Projects we will make efforts to enhance the “Creation of a Circle of Friends”, but the “Creation of a Circle of Friends” among the members of the Rotary Club of Tokyo is also important. Long-time members commented, “In the past, all the club members knew each other. When we attended a regular meeting, we could feel the warmth of all the other members, and there was the sense that all were waiting eagerly for the next week’s meeting. This sense is beginning to fade in today’s Rotary Club of Tokyo”.
 It goes without saying that I wish to deepen the exchange and communication among club members, but I also wish to make efforts to build a club that will also make visitors want to come back again. With the help and support of each of our members over the coming year, I will do my best for the good of the Rotary Club of Tokyo. I thank you for your support.

“Address at the First Regular Meeting of Fiscal 2008”

Mr. Koichi Takenaka,
Secretary,
Rotary Club of Tokyo

 In May I received the ”Club Secretary’s Manual” from Rotary International, which detailed the roles and responsibilities of the Club Secretary. In the manual it states “The Secretary will frequently receive questions regarding the policies and procedures of the Rotary Club. To fully respond to these questions, it is necessary to completely master the Articles of Incorporation and the Detailed Rules of Rotary International”. In July, I began my post as secretary and I will continue to study the Club Secretary’s Manual until I know it completely, and so, I ask for the help and support of all of you members.
 The membership in the Rotary Club of Tokyo, after peaking at 384 in 1993, had declined to 329 members in 2003. Since then, 2 - 3 new members have been added each year, and we started this year with 341 members. The procedures for new member recommendations were revised at the Board of Directors in June, but it has not become particularly complicated. I request your support in strengthening our membership. We would like to deepen the amicable relationships among our members through participation in various events, District conventions and the Rotaract Club, focusing on weekly meetings, committees and club forums.
This year “The Tokyo Rotary Club 88th Anniversary Meeting & Family Party” will be held on October 22, and on December 17, the “Christmas Family Party” is planned. At the Christmas Family Party, the wonderful events are planed such as entertainment with country and western music joined by the present members and those peculiar to Christmas, so we would like all of the members to invite their children and grandchildren. Memories of good times are always long lasting. The event may also inspire the youth who attend to become future Rotaracts and Rotarians.
 The gift commemorating the members’ birthdays has been changed from a spoon to a fork. This is a result of responding to the many comments from long time members who said they have too many spoons, and requested a different item. The change takes effect beginning this week. I will do my best in furthering the development of the Rotary Club of Tokyo over the coming year. Thank you for your sincere support.