Table Speech

Official Visit by the Governor

July 20, 2016

Mr. Shoji Kamiyama
Governor, RI District 2580
Tokyo Musashino Chuo RC

 Let me share with you today the RY 2016-2017 theme set by RI President John F. Germ as well as the motto and priority areas of District 2580. I attended the International Assembly held in San Diego this January where President Germ announced his theme “Rotary Serving Humanity.” He emphasized that RCs consist of like-minded companions who believe in integrity, diversity, generosity, friendship and peace. He continued Paul Harris launched the first Rotary Club 111 years ago to fulfill the utmost purpose of our life which is to provide service to others, based on diversity and the principle of vocational classification. He reminded us that the Four Way Test we uphold is a sublime ethical standard that transcends time. I sympathized with his belief as a Governor of a District that puts emphasis on vocational service and makes the Four Way Test our action guideline.

 RI has set 11 goals for this RY and now I wish to highlight three of them. Firstly to “improve membership recruitment and retention,” President Germ clarified that we should not merely focus on increasing numbers but should recruit qualified candidates capable of implementing various benevolent initiatives and eventually becoming our leaders. Secondly to “eradicate polio,” President Germ shared his personal story of his father who had suffered from a disabled leg caused by polio. He expressed his determination to eradicate this disease from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last two countries where the virus still circulates. Thirdly to “get understanding and support for the Rotary Foundation,” the Foundation was launched in 1917 by the then RI President Arch C. Klumph and will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary next year. RCs across Japan will join forces to organize a commemorative symposium to be held on 27 November. We will have the honor to invite RI President Mr. Germ and the honorary member of Tokyo RC, Ms. Sadako Ogata, to the Symposium.

 Let me move on and share our District motto and priority areas for this RY. “Cherish an encounter with someone” will be our motto. I hope RCs will provide a venue for Rotarians to make new encounters. “Fellowship and training” will be our priority areas. I think Rotarians can get to know each other well by attending regular meetings. It is therefore important to have interesting table speeches to encourage active participation and Clubs are advised to make good use of the Guest Speakers listing. Training is another area of focus because to our disappointment, we learnt from surveys conducted at each Club that members who stayed less than three years accounted for 40% of total resignations. Many leave Rotary before discovering and appreciating the essence of Rotary. President Okamoto of this Tokyo RC encouraged Rotarians to “have a better understanding on the virtue of Rotary,” and I decided to organize four training sessions this Year in our District to improve membership retention. While the sessions are mainly for members who joined Rotary within the last three years, I encourage you all to participate and revisit the basics of Rotary. Let me also request each Club to secure a net increase of at least one Rotarian for sound membership development.

 I will also strive to eradicate polio and try to get wider recognition on the fact that two Japanese Rotarians were the originators of this movement prior to the launch of the PolioPlus program in 1985. I had a chance to talk with 38 Governors from Japan attending the International Assembly and found out that hardly anybody was aware of this fact. The book “Omoidegusa (memento)” documents the enthusiasm of the late Mr. Yamada and the late Mr. Mine from Tokyo Kojimachi RC in our District who initiated the movement of polio eradication.

 Please also note that the RI Convention will be held in Atlanta during 10-14 June, 2017. I hope many of you will participate. The District Conference will be held on 02 February, so let me also ask for your cooperation.

 Before I close, I wish to reiterate my commitment to make preparations for the Centennial Anniversary of Tokyo RC in 2020. It was agreed at the Governors’ Meeting on 01 July that RCs across Japan would collaborate to celebrate the occasion. We are currently making requests for financial support to Clubs throughout Japan.

 I have just started my duty as Governor and feel a little nervous. I am determined to work hard, so let me ask each one of you for your generous support and understanding.