Monday, September 24th, 2018

The Special Olympics National Summer Games in Japan was held in Aichi Prefecture between September 22nd – 24th. On the last day of the games, MEXT Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi observed the competition, presented medals during the medal ceremony, and made a closing address. Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado also observed the games and attended both the medal and closing ceremonies.

The Special Olympics is participated by people with intellectual disabilities. The World Games are held once every four years during the summer and winter seasons. National competitions are held to select representatives for the World Games. About 1,000 athletes from across Japan participated in the nationals in 13 athletic events.

Minister Hayashi observed the basketball and gymnastics games. Princess Takamado, TERU, a singer of the music group GLAY who composed “YOUR SONG”, Japan’s official theme song for the competition, and Chairman of the Special Olympics Yuko Arimori participated with relevant members of the competition to present medals at the badminton medal ceremony.

The Special Olympics praises all athletes with an award. The medal ceremony was filled with warm applause and joy, as athletes taking the podium waved towards the audience with overflowing smiles which naturally made the presenters smile.

At the closing ceremony, Minister Hayashi encouraged more people to watch athletes doing their best in sport, and for more volunteers to participate in managing the games. Hayashi said this will advance the realization of a society in which a diverse range of people live in harmony through mutually understanding and recognizing each other’s differences irrespective of one’s disabilities.
Hayashi spoke on his hopes for the competition to serve as a stepping stone to disseminate the value of sport and to trigger a movement towards creating an inclusive society.