Table Speech

Official Visit by the Governor

July 25, 2018

Mr. Jyunichi Matsusaka
Governor, RI District 2580
Tokyo Katsushika Higashi RC

 I wish to open my speech by expressing my sincere gratitude to Tokyo RC on behalf of 34 District Governors for funding the new Gongs to be given to each District. All the Governors will bring it when they make an official visit starting this month and the President of each RC will hit the Gong. This is my 10th visit and I will go around 60 more RCs by the end of this RY together with this Gong.

 I must say a lot of work awaits us all. We witnessed severe disaster caused by torrential rain in extensive parts of western Japan earlier this month. Let me ask for your generous support so that our District can start to assist the victims sometime in September in the three Prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime that had suffered the most serious damage. We also need to raise funds for the 50th anniversary of the Yoneyama Umekichi Memorial Hall to be celebrated on September 14th next year. We have called upon RCs across Japan to support the projects that total 92 million yen, including renovation costs. While Tokyo RC kindly offered a significant contribution of 10 million yen, I need to encourage many other RCs to support this milestone event.

 I attended the International Assembly in San Diego this January as a Governor-elect. I was impressed by the speech made by this year’s RI President Mr. Barry Rassin calling upon each RC to take care of the organization and its members first. Upheld in the RI theme “Be the Inspiration,” he encourages 1.2 million Rotarians around the world to “create lasting change for the good in your communities and in yourselves. Be the inspiration to your clubs, districts, communities and countries to address various issues with courage, hope and creativity.”

 When I listened to President Rassin emphasize the importance of rebuilding the organization, I couldn’t agree more as I understood the role of Governors was to convey the ideas and direction of RI to each RC. Likewise, the main role of District Committees would be to support each RC. Having served as an Assistant Governor of East Sub-District during RY 2013-2014, I tried my best to visit 15 RCs and understand how Presidents managed and implemented their activities and what were their challenges and issues to overcome. To be honest, I could not allocate enough time and energy to give extensive advice and support as I had to make 80 visits a year. This was why we increased the number of Assistant Governors from 6 to 13 during RY 2016-2017 so that they could provide in-depth support to a smaller number of RCs in charge. Also, we held monthly training sessions for the incoming Assistant Governors from last November to this May so that they could share the same vision and direction. Through extensive discussions, I was encouraged to see the participants became motivated to support each RC on behalf of the Governor in a good team spirit. I also think training sessions for new Presidents and Secretaries will be effective as majority of RCs in this District now have a membership of less than 40 and most Rotarians have limited years of experience. Not a few Presidents wish to change their Clubs for the better but lack the experience to elaborate on what they can do.

 When I was Governor Nominee Designate, I attended the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) training sessions which are currently conducted by more than 500 Clubs worldwide, including 21 Clubs in Japan. Incumbent Presidents as well as incoming Presidents and Secretaries get into small groups and engage in extensive discussions on different themes throughout the day. We plan to introduce RLI into our District and launched the Preparatory Committee this year. We invite instructors to train the discussion leaders who will play an instrumental role in the training sessions. I also want each RC to establish a Committee to discuss about the “Future of RC”. This is because we need to ensure continuity and coherence to implement various service activities on a multi-year basis.

 I was surprised to find out that RI is currently discussing the possibility of granting “global membership” to Rotarians without joining a RC. The idea first came up during the RI Board of Directors Meeting held in January 2017 and it was put on the table for further discussion at the Meeting this January. Our District has set up a Legislation Review Committee to propose our statement on the Council on Legislation. I expect each RC to share the RI proposal on global membership and deliberate extensively on this matter.