Last-minute preparations are racing ahead in Tokyo for the biggest Rotary International convention in history.?
General view of the Convention Hall exterior. Painters working on signs. Preparations inside the hall, including a dance rehearsal by a troupe of about 20 performance. On the main downtown Ginza street Welcome Rotarian signs and foreigners among the pedestrians. Welcome Rotarian sign outside Tokyo's well-known Imperial Hotel.
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Background: Last-minute preparations are racing ahead in Tokyo for the biggest Rotary International convention in history. The convention will be first to be held in Japan - biggest in the Far East among all sorts of international gatherings - and biggest Convention in the history of the rotary movement.
As over six thousand delegates with their families pour into the Japanese capital, already full with a record influx of routists, hotels are jammed everywhere, restaurants and shops are crowded and the traffic in downtown Tokyo poses an unprecedented problem. Officials have arranged for a ship in Yokohama to be used as hostel for part of the delegates who will commute to the conference hall in fast launches. To provide additional accommodation, the homes of Japanese Rotarians and their friends have been pressed into service. Delegates have been conversing on Tokyo all week from 122 listed foreign countries and cities, ranging alphabetically from Aden to Vietnam and Wales.
Rotary in Japan began in 1920. It was closed during the war. As defeated Japan re-emerged into international intercourse Japanese Rotary leaped to 15,700 members in 390 clubs. The main activities of the Convention will take place at the huge domed Harumi Hall in southern Tokyo, on the site of international trade fairs. The Hall interior has been boosted to accommodate 15,000 delegates.
In an unprecedented bow to the Rotarians, Emperor Hirohito has consented to attend in person to deliver the opening message of goodwill. In another opening attraction on May 28 the Rotarians from all parts of the world will watch an "Impressions of Japan" grand state show featuring "200 violinists - Shinto dancers - orchestra of 40 Koto and 20 bamboo flutes - Firemen of Tokyo - and glamorous Geisha Girls --." The Prime Minister, Hayato Ikeda, scheduled to visit the U.S. soon on a one-man goodwill mission, also will address the delegates.