Table Speech

President’s Address at the Last Regular Meeting

June 25, 2014

Mr. Motohiro Mibu
President, The Rotary Club of Tokyo

 I extend my sincere gratitude to you all for your generous support and understanding during this Rotary Year. Let me also thank Vice-President Mr. Yamauchi, Secretary Mr. Kamegai, Board Directors and Chairmen of the Committees for their exceptional support.

 As I look back on this year, I realize how lucky I was to have served as the President when the Japanese economy has been performing smoothly, thanks to Prime Minister Abe’s economic policies - the Abenomics. We were blessed with good news. I believe having won the bidding campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo helped us dispel the deflation mindset of being inward-, downward- and backward-looking.

 The registration of “Mt. Fuji: Object of worship, Wellspring of Art” as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site last June was another occasion that made Japan recognized in the world. Good news followed with the registration of “Washoku – traditional Japanese cuisine” as an Intangible Cultural Heritage last December and the recent registration of Tomioka Silk Mill. I am delighted that the view of nature, tradition and culture of the Japanese people has been receiving high acclaim.

 I am sure many of you were encouraged by young Japanese athletes who performed splendidly during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi this February. I was also thrilled to see the Samurai Blue Japan National Football Team fighting courageously against powerful teams in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Let’s all look forward to their even more active and successful performance.

 Tokyo RC has undertaken various activities this year under the themes of “open mind - to the outer world” and “practical mind - based on substantial and succinct management.” Thanks to your cooperation, we succeeded in handing down remarkable achievements to the next Rotary Year.

 Thanks to all the hard work and tireless effort made by Chairman of the Challenge 100 Committee Mr. Kuroda, Mr. Hashimoto and Mr. Tsuno who have negotiated extensively as well as all related officers and member Rotarians, the Rotary Foundation formally approved our application for the global grant to the “Tohoku Sukusuku Kesennuma Project.” Generous support from RCs and Districts around the world, including Ardmore RC and clubs in South Korea and Germany, as well as District 2580 and many RCs in Japan, the project now totals 197,775 dollars.

 Membership development is the biggest challenge for Rotary. Thanks to your effort, it is likely that we have achieved the largest number of new members in recent years. As we have worked under the theme of opening our Club to the outer world, we must not overlook the issue of admitting female Rotarians. This issue was first raised during Rotary Year 1994 and has undergone extensive discussions since then. In 2002, Ms. Sadako Ogata became our honorary member. Unfortunately, there has been no sponsorship for new female members ever since. Being one of the international social service organizations that implements fair social activities, Tokyo RC should be ready to welcome female Rotarians. Currently, we are going ahead with the admission procedure for a couple of female members. Let me ask for your understanding and support to our formal female members who will join us during the new Rotary Year under the Presidency of Mr. Kato.

 As I close my speech, let me extend my sincere gratitude to the Secretariat staff that have rendered me assistance. Thank you all for this Rotary Year.

Secretary’s Address

June 25, 2014

Mr. Taro Kamegai
Secretary, The Rotary Club of Tokyo

 President Mibu has set the Club themes of this year to be “open mind” and “practical mind.” Membership development was our key issue in making our Club “open mind” to the outer world and welcome people from wide-ranging backgrounds, regardless of their age or nationality. We have succeeded in sponsoring 19 new Rotarians to date, which I think is a remarkable achievement. Membership increased from 318 to 330 during this Rotary Year, with an outstanding net increase of 12.

 Approval of the global grant to the “Tohoku Sukusuku Kesennuma Project” best represents our spirit of “practical mind.” There has been only one global-grant project implemented in Japan so far. We started from scratch, have toiled on the application procedure and developed the global-grant project that totals 197,775 dollars.

 The “Challenge 100 Project” has run the Salon for Mothers at Kesennuma and Ishinomaki that facilitated a local community building where mothers and children interacted. We provided seminars on breastfeeding and training for childrearing experts. As our continued assistance to the Child Care House “Ayukko” in Rikuzentakata, we donated playground equipments. 20 Rotarians and family members, including President Mibu and the Challenge 100 Project Chairman Mr. Kuroda, joined the two-day tour to participate in the tree-planting ceremony of “The Great Forest Wall Project” and to make an assessment of the “Tohoku Sukusuku Project.” We stayed overnight at Kesennuma and visited Ishinomaki and Rikuzentakata the following day to witness steady contribution our Project has made in rehabilitating the disaster-stricken areas.

 We made donations to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (1 million yen to Izu Oshima Island hit by the typhoon) and the District Governor (relief donation of 1 million yen to the Philippines hit by the typhoon). Contributions to the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation again exceeded 10 million yen, for the 6th consecutive year. Our community service activities included providing assistance worth 1 million yen to the “The Great Forest Wall Project” and 800,000 yen to support 10 initiatives taken by social welfare corporations. As our international service activities, we provided assistance of 100,000 yen to the Japan Association for UNHCR as well as 200,000 yen to a NPO at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 Other activities included renewal of our Club website, inviting speakers with wide-ranging backgrounds who have given us timely and insightful speeches and organizing family parties, Lady’s Day and various excursions that helped us deepen our friendship. Cooperation also promoted within the District, through 18 table speeches made by our member Rotarians at other Clubs in the Districts. Thanks to the speeches made by the Challenge 100 Committee, we got wider recognition and support to the Tohoku Sukusuku Project and raised over 1 million yen in donations.

 There were some points suggested in the discussions at the second Club Forum held on April 16th, including how to give more publicity on hobby circles and reviewing the selection criteria for youth exchange students. They will be carried forward to the new Rotary Year for further deliberation.