Table Speech

President’s Address

December 24, 2014

Mr. Takeo Katoh
President, The Rotary Club of Tokyo

 I took over the Presidency from Mr. Mibu this July and have been managing various activities of the Tokyo Rotary Club. I am delighted with our successful activities over the past six months, thanks to the generous support given by Vice-President Mr. Miyazaki, Secretary Mr. Tatsumura, Directors, Officers, Committee Chairmen and above all, cooperation by each member Rotarian.

 Recently, I visited the “World Press Photo 2014” exhibition held at Mitsukoshi Department Store. I was surprised to find, anew so many news subjects that made people across Japan happy, sad, excited or angry throughout this year.

 Among various incidents, I was devastated by the frequency of large-scale natural disasters. Following the eruption of Mt. Ontake, a strong earthquake hit Nagano and severe snowstorms raged across Japan, causing extensive damage to a normally mild and warm Shikoku region. In such times of difficulty, we were deeply moved by the visits made by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress to disaster-stricken areas in Japan to encourage sufferers of various disasters.

 On the other hand, we had many happy news subjects that brought hope to especially young people, among which I want to highlight the outstanding achievements made by the Gold Medalist skater Mr. Yuzuru Hanyu and the world’s No. 5 tennis player Mr. Kei Nishikori as well as the Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to the three Japanese scientists.

 The Chinese character meaning tax “zei” was selected as the kanji of the Year that best symbolizes events in 2014 and was announced at the annual event ceremony held at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. It was a year defined by an increase in the consumption tax rate from 5% to 8% in April and the postponement of the second stage of the tax hike that brought victory to the Abe Administration in the Lower House Election at the end of the year. I personally prefer a little more cheerful kanji, rather than such a realistic one.

 Tokyo Rotary Club has been implementing various activities under the theme of “Enjoy Rotary” this year. We were blessed with a large attendance of member Rotarians and their families to our night-time Family Party in October, Christmas Party last week and bi-monthly Birthday Party. Based on some suggestions raised during the last Club Forum to further enhance such activities, we are committed to promote our theme “Enjoy Rotary.”

 Many challenging issues await us next year, including how to make Abenomics give more concrete results and how the oil price could impact on the global economy. Yet let us all hope the coming year will be a bright and happy one.