Sunday, November 8, 2020

MEXT Minister Hagiuda Koichi inspected the Friendship and Solidarity Competition, an international sporting event held on November 8 at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
The event sponsored by the International Gymnastics Federation, is the first actual Olympic venue staged in Japan featuring athletes arriving from overseas since the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty gymnasts from Japan, China, Russia and the US participated in the event in which athletes were divided into two groups with 15 members per team, instead of competing for their own nations.  
The athletes and coaches participating from overseas were required to undergo a range of coronavirus countermeasures including PCR testing before leaving their country, when entering Japan, and daily testing and health monitoring, along with keeping their movements inside Japan to a minimum.
Minister Hagiuda said the competition, which was the first international event staged in Japan amidst the coronavirus pandemic, was administered with extreme care in implementing a range of coronavirus countermeasures, while allowing a limited number of spectators. The minister said the event was the first of its kind in having teams, not nations compete against each other, and deeply felt the strong bonds of friendship among the athletes that were different from ordinary times. Minister Hagiuda also commended the Japanese team for their outstanding individual performances including gymnast Uchimura Kohei,
The minister spoke of hopes towards the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, stressing he and Chairman of the International Gymnastics Federation and IOC Member, Watanabe Morinari’s conviction of using the success of this event as a foundation towards confirming every precaution, and doing everything possible to host the Olympic Games next year.
Link to Friendship and Solidarity Competition


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