Table Speech

Governor’s Official Visit

July 25, 2012

Mr. Masakazu Ishikawa
Governor, RI District 2580, Naha West RC

 The Rotary Club of Tokyo is the leading club in District 2580. Initially founded in October 1920, Tokyo RC weathered the hard times of closure during World War II. In 1949, the newborn RC started with the membership of 157. In July, it began to recruit Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars, and in 1952 the Club initiated the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation for scholars from Asian countries. I learnt that today, this program has developed into a 1.4-billion-yen initiative that provides scholarships to 800 students a year. A total of 16,000 scholars have been granted scholarships, thanks to the dedicated services by our senior Rotarians. Tokyo RC also implemented the Clear Land Project in Cambodia, which proves all the initiatives led by this Club have been successful.

 Let me share with you my views on RC today, as I was given more chances to study and think about Rotary as a Governor. I believe a Governor is expected to fulfill four duties, which are: 1) reinforce Rotary through membership development, 2) grasp the current situation of each club by making official visits, 3) publish the Governor’s Monthly Letter and disseminate information on the attractiveness of Rotary, motivate the Presidents of each club to conduct enjoyable club meetings, and 4) encourage donations to Rotary Foundation that engages in international service activities. By receiving 100 dollars a year from each Rotarian, we aim at raising 120 million dollars in total from 1.2 million Rotarians around the world.

 In addition to “Polio Plus”, there are six areas of focus as follows,:
 (1) Peace and conflict prevention / resolution
 (2) Disease prevention and treatment
 (3) Water and sanitation
 (4) Maternal and child health
 (5) Basic education and literacy
 (6) Economic and community development
 Rotarians must take pride in supporting the significant task of service activities implemented by RI over the past 107 years. Paul Harris and his friends from Chicago established the first Rotary Club in 1905. Today there are 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and regions with 1.2 million members.

 In Japan, there are 2,292 clubs in 34 Districts. Membership totaled 88,734 as of March 31, 2012. We must admit that the number of clubs keeps increasing, while its total membership is decreasing, and on average we have lost 2,297 members per year over the past 17 years. Membership development is a pressing issue.

 Each club is urged to engage in serious discussions on the significance and true value of Rotary and achieve a consensus, reflecting on its history over 100 years. This will be the key for membership development that responds to the changing times. Rotary was founded to foster mutual assistance and friendship. I believe Rotary is all about friendship building among individuals of good faith, going beyond the formality of job title and vocational groups.

 District 2700 Governor Mr. Hirohata of Rotary Year 2005-06 once stated, “the essence of Rotary can be summarized into ESS, that is Enjoy, Study and Service.” Rotarians must enjoy themselves as individuals, study vocational ethics and pursue self-development through active exchanges of opinions, and pursue the Avenues of Service with the belief that “he profits most who serves best.” I personally believe RC will have to focus on the younger generation.

 Recently, RI identified the core values of Rotary, which begins with “service,” followed by “fellowship,” “diversity,” “integrity” and “leadership.” Rotarians are encouraged to develop human networks based on mutual trust. Rotarians are people with high levels of humanity and I am convinced you can make your lifelong friends here. Also Rotarians are an abundant source of creative ideas and teachings. This is why I plan to invite younger people to join.

 “New Generation Service” was added to the Avenues of Service from this year. We plan to welcome about 150 high school students in Japan through our Youth Exchange Program, while we will be sending Japanese students to about 20 countries. I am convinced young students will overcome various obstacles through adaptability and enthusiasm, thus mature in foreign countries where they might have language barriers. This exactly is the significant initiative of Rotary.

 The Yoneyama scholarship program has also made great achievements. But I must admit that Interact and Rotaract initiatives are not that successful. Rotaract clubs were implemented by 32 clubs, yet 25 clubs have dissolved. Interact clubs were implemented by 26 clubs, yet 15 clubs have dissolved.

 We should turn our eyes to the young people of the next generation, who must survive the fierce global competition. I ask for your continuous support to foster Japanese youth with competence and international competitiveness.

 Let me close my speech by wishing for the further development and success of Tokyo RC where each Rotarian will have an enjoyable and fruitful experience.