Table Speech

President’s Address at the Last Regular Meeting

June 26, 2013

Mr. Yoshio Okazaki
President, The Rotary Club of Tokyo

 Mr. Sakuji Tanaka was the third Japanese to serve as 2012-2013 RI President after 30 years. The theme set by President Tanaka was “Peace through Service.” As a special event, the Global Peace Forum was organized in Hiroshima this May, after Berlin and Hawaii, where 2,500 participated from 50 countries, including 8 Rotarians, 2 spouses and 2 Rotaracts from Tokyo RC. In his opening remarks, President Tanaka stated “As a forum to think about peace, we chose the 3 cities that assume symbolic meanings out of all the cities once devastated by World War II. Let us think how we can be of help to others and make the world more peaceful by little steps.”

 The “Rotary Japan South Korea Goodwill Conference” was also held in Tokyo, amidst dispute over Takeshima Islands, where 2,000 participated from 15 districts in Korea and 32 districts in Japan. Our honorary member Ms. Sadako Ogata gave a special lecture and emphasized the “significance of deepening friendship to maintain global peace and promote sustainable development in Asia, setting aside the disputes between two countries.”

 I embrace the tradition, culture and dignity of this club, fostered since its foundation 92 years ago. I have set the club theme to be “Participate & enjoy Rotary,” hoping to bring together the joy of friendship and service through fruitful club activities. Our priority activities were: 1) Fruitful service activities through friendship building 2) Membership development 3) Strengthen the “Challenge 100” project, and 4) Assist the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation initiatives As for friendship building, we organized 3 new activities of birthday parties, an English Night and visiting the grave of Umekichi Yoneyama.

 As for membership development, we welcomed 16 new members but total membership decreased by 3 during this RY.

 As for the “Challenge 100 Project,” we continued our assistance to the Child Care House “Ayukko” donated during the last RY. We planted 5 dogwood trees in the yard last November and revisited the House in May to exchange with mothers and children born after the Earthquake. Thanks to the Public Relations Committee, we had newspaper and TV coverage. We also visited the “Tohoku Sukusuku Project” implemented in Kesennuma, which started this year and provides maternal/child health consultations, baby massage and lectures to train childrearing experts, together with Rikuzentakata RC and Kesennuma RC. We called on other RCs in our District for financial assistance and succeeded in raising over 1 million yen from 21 Clubs. Towards the coming RY 2013-2014, our request for a Global Grant was accepted (DDF worth 50,000 dollars), Washington DC RC will kindly contribute 1,000 dollars from the Global Grant, and Ardmore RC has also responded cooperation to the Grant.

 We could achieve the targeted 10 million yen support to Yoneyama Memorial Foundation this year, like last year, thanks to your generous support.

 We received as many as 515 visitors, mainly from other Japanese RCs but also from overseas, at our meetings. We also got many suggestions during our Club Forum and some of them are already implemented. For example, the list of table speech makers is announced in advance and leaflets on the format of how to “make-up” are prepared to improve the attendance record.

 The new RY will start next week under the presidency of Mr. Mibu. Our new District Governor Mr. Kenji Yoshida stated his willingness to assist voluntary activities by each club. His favorite word is making “changes” and I assume each club in the District is expected to make some positive changes. I sincerely wish the coming year will be even more fruitful and remarkable for our Club.

Secretary’s Address at the Last Regular Meeting

June 26, 2013

Mr. Yoichiro Kojima
Secretary, The Rotary Club of Tokyo

 At the outset, let me express my sincere gratitude for the precious opportunity to learn and think about Rotary by serving as Secretary for Tokyo RC with a long history and tradition. I will summarize this Rotary year with some points of reflection.

 First of all, as of June, the average age of our member is 68.84 years old. Last year it was 68.17 years old, so our club has aged slightly.

 For membership development, we welcomed 16 new members while 19 members left our club. Although the number of new members fell a bit short than expected, we managed to reduce costs and secure 1.5 million yen for the Reconstruction Fund and 1 million yen for the Niko Niko Donation Box.

 Our club theme was “Participate & Enjoy Rotary.” President Okazaki believes that “Rotary is all about friendship building” and “all Rotary activities must be enjoyable.” We tried to organize attractive and enjoyable regular meetings, which totaled 44 this year, and invited experts from different fields who made table speeches. In addition, 9 birthday parties were organized, we paid visit to the grave of Umekichi Yoneyama and the “English Night” all enhanced “friendship building.” I regret to say that the attendance rate remained 64.87% in the first half and 66.21% in the latter half. To improve the rate, we started to announce the list of table speech makers in advance and post it at the meeting site and in the bulletin as suggested at the Club Forum.

 We had 3 night-time meetings. Our 92nd Anniversary Meeting and Family Party on October 17th was attended by 201 members and guests, who were impressed by the superb violin performance of Ms. Ikuko Kawai. Our Christmas Party (301 attended) was held on December 19th with the entertainment of the quintet of the Keio Wagner Society. The 108th Anniversary of RI was held on February 27th. We had very unique Caribbean flute performances, and we were impressed by Mr. Hirano, our member Rotarian, who played the flute so well (202 attended). The only disappointment was that not many ambassadors and ministers from embassies in Tokyo attended. Our New Year’s Meeting opened with our traditional kagami-biraki and live Japanese drum performance.

 Reporting on donations and assistance we made, in addition to the Challenge 100 Committee project, we contributed 1 million yen from the Niko Niko Donation Box to the “Great Forest Wall Project.” This project was initiated by former Prime Minister Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa, who we welcomed as our table speech maker in April. We also donated 200,000 yen to Tsubomi Nursery in Kesennuma to buy milk. The Social Service Committee applied for the District Grant and made an in-kind donation worth 720,000 yen to a welfare organization Airin-kai, which had been affected by reduced donations from other organizations due to rehabilitation assistance given to areas damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

 I also had chances to accompany President Okazaki to attend the 60th anniversary of 5 RCs that we have sponsored as well as the 90th Anniversary of Osaka RC. Such occasions made me re-appreciate the leading role played by Tokyo RC and its solemn responsibility. I also felt privileged to be one of the members.

 The new RY will start next week under the presidency of Mr. Mibu, who is the very first President born after World War II. He will be ably assisted by Secretary Mr. Kamegai, who has a lot of experience. Let me close my speech by wishing them both all the best.