Table Speech

President’s Address

Mr. Tomijiro Morita
President, Rotary Club of Tokyo

 I joined the Rotary Club of Tokyo in 1998. I must confess my attendance rate to Rotary activities has not been very impressive over the past 19 years. That was why I was so surprised to get a request to take over the Presidency. Following the Rotary code to “be open to whatever request,” I will serve as your new President for this Rotary Year.

 As we all know, Tokyo RC was established in 1920 as the very first Club in Japan. Ever since, our Club has played an instrumental role to spearhead the Rotary movement in this country amidst turbulent times. As we turn our eyes to the world, the Rotary movement continued to evolve and expand since its inception in 1905 by Mr. Paul Harris up to the late 20th century. Membership started to decline since we entered the 21st century, caused by socioeconomic changes. Japan is no exception where the falling birthrate has resulted in the decline in the working population. Consequently, the number of Japanese companies keeps falling and overshadows the Japanese economy as a whole. I think it also gives an adverse impact on the management and activities of RCs especially in rural areas.

 To better reflect these changes, the RI policies were revised to allow more flexibility and autonomy to each RC, based on extensive discussions of the 2016 Council on Legislation. I think it was a legitimate decision for Rotary to adapt to major changes for survival. But I also think we must live by the basic principles of “vocational service” “high ethical standards” and “generosity” upheld by our forerunners. Let me highlight that Tokyo RC will base its management on the long-cherished principles, while working to reinforce connections between people and companies to reinvigorate growth. Thus I have set the Club theme for this RY to be “Hand in Hand”.

 Each RC must maintain and improve its vitality through the active participation of Rotarians in various Club initiatives. We all engage in our professional duties but I think we must strike a balance between work and Rotary activities. I also wish to call your special attention to membership development as a critical element for our sustenance.

 We will be celebrating our Centennial Anniversary in three years. I will strive to ensure smooth preparations and management towards our significant milestone. Let me ask for your continuous support and understanding. Thank you.

Secretary’s Address

Mr. Satoshi Ohoka
Secretary, Rotary Club of Tokyo

 I have taught economics and business at universities and joined Tokyo RC in March 2004. Thanks to your advice and support, I learned much about Rotary, but there remains a lot more to learn. I hope to return the favor by serving as Secretary for this RY.

 As President Morita just highlighted, we have set our policy to “cherish the basic principles of Rotary” through fostering connections between companies and people to go “Hand in Hand”. I expect your active participation in our Regular Meetings, so that we can strengthen connections among our members. Our attendance rate remains around 60% which is not too impressive. I do understand our members are quite busy with different obligations, but let me emphasize that Rotary rules stipulate Rotarians have a duty to attend the Regular Meetings. I hope you will also make good use of the “make-up system” to boost our attendance rate. I would also like to emphasize that membership development continues to be at the top of our agenda. We concluded the last RY with 328 members and aim for a net increase of 2 members this Year. Some of you may have to leave the Club due to circumstances beyond your control. But it would be very helpful if you could sponsor some of your juniors as your replacement to revitalize our Club. As the number of Rotarians keeps decreasing worldwide, RI has initiated a number of institutional changes. I must say some of these changes seem to retrogress the Rotary spirit. Let me reiterate our commitment to go back to the basics of Rotary and to value what makes Tokyo RC unique and special through its long tradition and history.

 Let me highlight two of our initiatives. One is our Tohoku Sukusuku Project implemented by the Challenge 100 Committee. The Kesennuma Sukusuku House has made a remarkable achievement, supported by the Global Grant, and it will be handed over to the local municipality during this RY. Another major initiative is the preparation for our centennial anniversary in 2020. We will shift from the planning phase to the preparatory phase and accelerate various activities under the new slogan “PARTICIPATE to go back to basics and look to the future.”

 I would do my best to bring another successful Year to Tokyo RC with long tradition, under your guidance and support. Thank you.