Table Speech

President’s Address

December 21, 2016

Mr. Takehiko Okamoto
President, Rotary Club of Tokyo

 Let me say a few words at this last Weekly Meeting for the year 2016.
 Six months have passed since I succeeded the presidency in July. Let me express my sincere gratitude to Vice-President Mr. Hamaguchi, Secretary Mr. Ozeki, officers, directors and chairmen and member Rotarians for your cooperation that facilitated the smooth management of our meetings. I was deeply impressed to have active participation by you all to our 96th Anniversary Weekly Meeting and Family Party as well as the Christmas Family Party just last week. For our first Club Forum, 62 Rotarians participated and exchanged in active discussions. I felt, anew, your enthusiasm to the management of Tokyo RC.

 The year 2016 was another year with many events and incidents. In the past years, we have witnessed an escalating number of natural disasters. This May, a powerful earthquake hit Kumamoto and claimed many precious lives. The Kumamoto Castle still remains damaged. Such natural disasters were witnessed not only in this island country Japan but across the world, making us wonder something unusual could be happening in the Earth. We often say “disasters hit when you are about to forget about them.” But I must say, a chain of disasters hit when your memory is still vivid these days. Please make sure to be prepared.

 We were also excited with good news. At the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, the Japanese athletes made marvelous achievements. They surely motivated children to aim high. Professor Yoshinori Osumi was awarded the Nobel Prize of Physiology or Medicine and we were moved by his achievement. Also different traditional festivals practiced across Japan were accredited as the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. I was moved because our traditional culture cherished over many centuries was recognized to be of importance.

 This year was also full of unexpected events. The UK voted to exit the EU and Donald Trump won the US Presidential election. I must say the world has reached a major turning point.

 The coming year 2017 may be another year full of events. I sincerely hope it will be a good and happy one for you all, and with this let me close my greetings for our last Weekly Meeting for year 2016.