Table Speech

“President’s Address”

December 24, 2008

Mr. Mitsuhiro Kurokawa,
President, Rotary Club of Tokyo

This is the final regular meeting of 2008. Together with looking back on the past half of the fiscal year, I would also like to look forward to the coming half of the fiscal year that will start in January.
This year began with “making efforts to create a circle of friends with Asia” through the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation Scholarship Programs (see the following “Note”). Specifically, through the Club Forum and the like, the understanding of the Yoneyama Memorial Scholarship was deepened, and the Scholarship fund subsequently received contributions from many members in amounts exceeding those of normal years. Further, roughly 100 Yoneyama Fellows have been having a lively debate at the committee as to how they should go about creating a network of returnees.
I also stressed the importance of creating a “circle of friendship” among our own club members.
As you have heard in the report from the Chairman of the Fellowship Committee, Mr. Tetsuya Kobayashi, the end of the year family party held last week was a great success. It was a gala that was enjoyed by all.
In the lucky draw, Mr. Masato Mizuno a.k.a. the very active reindeer, Rudolph, was selected as a District 2580 Governor Nominee for the years of 2011-2012. Congratulations to Mr. Mizuno. He will become the 19th District Governor from this Club, following in the footsteps of the late Mr. Sumao Tokumatsu, who sadly passed away this September. Looking ahead, we anticipate the birth of the third president of the Rotary International from Japan (2nd from this Club) and I feel we need to give even further support.
The second half of the fiscal year, which will begin in January, is a period in which I also want to emphasize “strengthening membership”.
In October, a letter desiring strengthened membership was received from Mr. Dong Kurn Lee, the President of Rotary International. Mr. Lee is concerned over the declining number of Rotarians in Japan. I wish to rely on the wisdom and networks of the current members to actively increase our worthy new members. Please grant us your assistance.
Although she is unfortunately not available to join us today, Ms. Patsuda Sae-Chueng, a Thai youth exchange student, has arrived in Japan, and commutes to school from her host family’s house. We wish to make her last half year stay in Japan a rich and memorable one, and ask you for your support in the matter.
The evening regular meeting on February 25 of next year (Rotary’s 104th Anniversary Meeting) will be honored with a guest speaker, Ms. Sadako Ogata, who is also an honorary member of the Club. I understand ambassadors of many countries will also be in attendance. I hope that all of you will be able to join.
I have been rambling on about several topics. However, I wish to express my desire to draw on the support of the governors and the members of each committee and the Club members.
The world is now confronted with an unprecedented economic crisis. There may be some among you that think this is no time to be spending on the Rotary. However, President of Rotary International Mr. Dong Kurn Lee has declared his policy of “Make Dreams Real”, and stated that we must take the world closer to one in which children who would needlessly lose their lives to preventable causes are saved, and their dreams are given to them. We, the Rotarians have obligations and responsibilities to continue on with the service activities that we perform no matter the circumstances.
We believe that the Rotary Club of Tokyo, with its purpose held high, will continue on actively with the Rotary activities in the coming New Year. With that, I wish to close my year end address.