2016 New Year's speech

January 2016

2016 New Year's speech

Japan Sports Agency Commissioner , Daichi Suzuki

I would like to express my sincere gratitude in welcoming the new spring in 2016. Ever since the establishment of the Japan Sports Agency last October, and after assuming the post as its first Commissioner, I have been promoting sports administration with full effort by actually visiting sites and by facing difficulties along with Japanese athletes and teams as a "forwardthinking Commissioner.
I have been involved in sports from a variety of positions having served as: a former Olympic athlete; a university professor specializing in sports science; the chairman of the Japan Swimming Federation; and a board member of the World Olympians Association. I hope to utilize my experiences to develop a foundation so that Japanese citizens will be thankful for the establishment of the Japan Sports Agency. In welcoming this new year as the first Commissioner of the Agency, I would like to reaffirm my determination in leading this new agency.

(Improving international competitiveness)
This is the year of the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. It is vital to aim towards improving Japan's international competitiveness so the Japanese team and athletes will succeed at the competition and give people hope and inspiration. I have personally visited the Rio qualifying competitions as much as my schedule has permitted, and personally encouraged the Japanese teams aiming to participate in the games. The Agency will provide assistance and develop environments to help athletes improve their skills so they can display their best performance at the ultimate stage where the entire world focuses on.

(Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games)
Rugby World Cup 2019, and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympics are drawing near.

Upon enduring rigorous training, the Japanese rugby team drove the nation into an emotional sensation last year at Rugby World Cup 2015 hosted by England, through its three brilliant victories against rugby superpowers . Adding to this momentum, I hope to further boost the nation's interest in the sport and make Rugby World Cup 2019 to be hosted by Japan, and to be held in Asia for the first time, a tournament that will go down in history.

At the 2015 Olympic and Paralympic Assembly, the Japan Sports Agency proposed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) additional athletic events and presented its nearly-complete review of the Olympic stadium. The Japan Sports Agency, under MEXT Minister Hiroshi Hase, will collaborate with Olympic and Paralympic Minister Toshiaki Endo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Olympic and Paralympic Assembly, and relevant municipal organizations to start the steady development of the new national stadium, and to smoothly advance preparations for the Games. As the host for the 2020 Games, the Agency will advance international contributions through the "Sport for Tomorrow" initiative by promoting sports to 100 million people in over 100 countries, in addition to spreading the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Japan from coast to coast.

(Enhancing para-sports)
It is very important to create an environment in which persons with disabilities can enjoy sports and find their purpose in life. The Agency aims to realize an inclusive society not only by promoting training of Paralympic athletes, but also by providing support which corresponds to the type and degree of disability so people can enjoy sports, and advancing measures so people can play sport together regardless of their disabilities.

(Promoting a healthy lifestyle through sport)
The Japan Sports Agency not only focuses on top athletes, but aims to realize the principles of the Basic Act on Sport which aims to create a society in which people can lead a healthy and fulfilled life in terms of mind and body throughout their lifetime through sport.
In order to promote a healthy lifestyle through sport, the Agency will promote sport based on cutting-edge sport medicine and science, and actively disseminate the excitement and beauty of sport by advancing measures to stimulate those uninterested in sports.

(Promoting school physical education, Sports club activities)
As a foundation for building the nation's love of sport, it is vital for children to experience the excitement of sport through school physical education and sports club activities. The Courses of Study now under review, aims not only to educate children's mind and body, but to improve educational contents and teaching methods so children will experience the excitement and attraction of sports.

(Revitalizing communities and the economy through sport)
Sport provides numerous hidden opportunities. The Agency aims to promote sports tourism, invite international competitions and camps, and promote measures to revitalize communities through sport by supporting the creation of environments where people can enjoy sport. Moreover, regardless of conventional norms, it is necessary to create a system in which people can make a living off of sports and return their profits to sport. The Agency aims to considerably increase the sports GDP by promoting the commercialization of various sports, and increase the sporting population by providing added-value services corresponding to people's needs.

(Promoting anti-doping measures)
Doping taints the idea of fair play and the nobility of sport, and must never be tolerated. I believe Japanese citizens respect each other, and understand the importance of fair and square play based on rules. Japan has no past record of doping offenders in any Olympic and Paralympic Games. This has lead to Japan's clean image in sports which is highly regarded by the international community.

As a permanent member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Japan will actively contribute in international anti-doping activities to improve the fairness of sports organizations, and work towards developing a world-class sport sector.

The Japan Sports Agency is faced with various issues upon promoting sports administration. The Agency will strive to play a central role among relevant agencies, and actively work to spread the value of sports to the world by cooperating with relevant organizations, businesses and regional public organizations.



Sports Agency Policy Division

Sports Agency Policy Division

-- Registration: January 2016 --