Table Speech


“Address at the First Weekly Meeting of Rotary Year 2009”

July 1, 2009

Mr. Yukiharu Kodama
President, Rotary Club of Tokyo
Mr. Kazuhiro Kashiwabara
Secretary, Rotary Club of Tokyo

“Address at the First Weekly Meeting of Rotary Year 2009”
Mr. Yukiharu Kodama
President, Rotary Club of Tokyo

 At the start of the Rotary year, allow me to report on several matters.

 Firstly, Mr. John Kenny from Scotland, President of Rotary International, has set the theme for this year as “The Future of Rotary is in your Hands.” Rotary Club has grown into a huge organization with 33,200 clubs and a membership of 1.2 million. Further development of this extensive network depends on continuous active initiatives by each club, supported by each member who well-understands the Rotary spirit and is ready to commit him/herself to service activities.

 Secondly, under the policy of our Governor Mr. Hiromu Tada, we decided not to create the original District 2580 theme this year, but rather to center our activities on the theme of RI. Our club themes have been “friendship building” and “joy of service activities” since Mr. Miyauchi was a president, calling for each member to go back to the basic of Rotary activities and get committed, which coincide with the theme by Mr. Kenny, so we would like to continue adopting these club themes.

 Now, let me highlight activities to be addressed this year.

 Firstly, I would like to further enhance support to the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation activities. Former President Kurokawa’s endeavors resulted in contributions which hit the 10 million yen mark for the first time. I am determined to continue this fund-raising, by boosting both regular and special contributions. In order to maintain a stable support system, I am asking for your support to increase regular contributions by 1,000 yen both for 1st and 2nd term.

 Secondly, about membership development and how to attract new members, you all gave great support despite the serious economic situation of last year. A working-group of former young secretaries was established, at Mr. Kurokawa’s suggestion, and they have been trying to invite qualified new members. This year our target is a net increase of 2 members, with the hope that club activities will be more vitalized and eventually our club will be rejuvenated.

 Thirdly, we must identify appropriate long-term projects to be implemented after the conclusion of the District-wide project, “Removal of Anti-personnel Landmines in Cambodia” in February 2010. I am convinced that this truly international service project was a significant epoch-making contribution. What can we do next? Continuing projects in the same international service can be one option. Another option is to examine the possibility of identifying new types of service activities which link our club with the local community. In the past, we have collaborated in improving the Hibiya Park facilities. As this year celebrates the 20th year of the Emperor’s reign and the 50th year of the imperial marriage, how about examining and identifying appropriate service activities that will improve the environment of the Imperial Palace Outer Garden, including water purification in the moat?

 Lastly, our club will celebrate its 90th-year-anniversary next year and the “preparatory committee” will be established and start its activities this month. I hope you all will give wide-ranging advice on possible anniversary events.

 Let me conclude my speech by asking for the generous support and collaboration to officers, board members, committee chairmen and every member for the coming year. I hope you will enjoy the club life and our activities will be meaningful for you individually and for the society.

Mr. Kazuhiro Kashiwabara
Secretary, Rotary Club of Tokyo

 I will serve as Secretary under the new Presidency of Mr. Kodama. I joined the Rotary Club in 1992, when I was 33, and I have met so many wonderful people and received kind guidance from them in the past 17 years. When I received the “Club Secretary Handbook” last November, which stipulates the roles and duties of the Secretary in details, I felt the need to reread other handbooks to learn the rules and procedures. I must admit that I still have a lot to learn to understand Rotary, and I look forward to your further guidance in the future.

 President Kodama has set our club theme to be “friendship building” and “joy of service activities.” As one of the activities which “builds friendship,” a female-flute-ensemble “LYNX” will give a classical music concert for the “89th Anniversary Weekly Meeting and Family Party” in October. LYNX is a unique group of 4 up-and-coming female flutists who graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts. At the end of the year, our traditional “Christmas Family Party” will be held on 18th December here at the Imperial Hotel, so please invite your family members. I am happy if you could “build friendship” through various “fellowship activities” including table meetings, round table, circles for golf, tennis, photography, music, tea ceremony and so on.

 “Removal of Anti-personnel Landmines” is one of our initiatives for the “joy of service activities.” As we all know, our club proposed this project in 1998 and it became the “World Community Service” activity for the whole District 2580 in 1999. The completion ceremony for the “Rotary Clear Land Project in Cambodia” will be held in February 2010. I hope many of you will join this 5-day-trip to conclude this project.

 “Strengthening the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation activities” is another initiative highlighted for this year, and I am determined to further support the international scholarship activities to assist foreign students studying in Japan. The scholarship program was inaugurated in 1952 by Tokyo Rotary Club to commemorate Mr. Umekichi Yoneyama, the first President of our club and the “Father of Rotary Clubs in Japan.” It expanded into a joint undertaking by all Rotary Clubs across Japan, and became a Foundation in 1967 authorized by the Ministry of Education. Donations from our club reached a record-high 10 million yen last year, and I would like to ask for your generous contribution and assistance again this year.

 About membership development, I regret to say that we experienced a net reduction last year due to tough economic conditions. Assuming that 20 members might resign due to various reasons, we need to secure over 22 new members in order to meet the target of a net increase of 2 members. I would like to ask your support in recommending qualified new members. The recommendation procedure was modified by the Board Meeting in June 2008, and admission procedure will take flexible steps to lessen the burden on sponsors. In addition to seeking new members, we should also strive to retain existing members and raise attendance at all events through interesting programs that foster friendship and pleasure from participating in club activities.