Fourth Meeting of the “Panel of Experts on Strengthening Sport Diplomacy”
July 10, 2014
On July 9, commencing at 10:00 a.m. for approximately two hours, the fourth meeting of the “Panel of Experts on Strengthening Sport Diplomacy” was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A summary of the meeting is as follows:
1. At the beginning, Mr. Nobuo Kishi, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, mentioned the possibility of empowerment of individuals who are often placed in a socially vulnerable position such as women, the disabled and the senior people. Concerning the theme of the fourth meeting “Sport diplomacy from individual viewpoints”,Mr. Kishi also requested members to discuss about contribution that could be made through diplomatic policies.
2. Subsequently, Ms. Seiko Hashimoto, a member of the House of Councilors, pointed out issues that the Government of Japan should enhance, based on her own experience. Ms Hashimoto mentioned the importance of education of youth and assistance for women’s participation and activities in the field of sports, focusing on sports and women, health, education and dietary education. Moreover, Mr. Mitsunori Torihara, President of the Japanese Para-Sports Association, introduced specific efforts for international contribution in the field of para-sports by the association and by the Japan Paralympic Committee. Mr. Torihara suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should put more emphasis on sport diplomacy. Finally, Mr. Kiyoshi Kounoike, Chairman of the Japan Masters Athletics, introduced the activities of the JMA and pointed out that it would be necessary to utilize active seniors for international friendship and appealing attractiveness of Japan through sports in the future.
3. In the subsequent discussion, it was first pointed out that in order to encourage sports by women, the disabled and the senior people, not only should there be enforcement of sports policies but various efforts to let them involved in society should be simultaneously enhanced. Moreover, from a viewpoint of a private enterprise, there was an opinion that it would be important to transmit Japanese technologies through developing sports equipment or to contribute to dispatch of volunteers at a competition, mainly for encouragement of para-sports. There are para-sports competitions such as Paralympics and the Special Olympics and also various kinds of sports games for seniors. Therefore, it would be necessary to attract attention of public vis-à-vis those games and competitions both domestically and internationally. At the same time MOFA should utilize the opportunities of such competitions in order to promote better understanding of Japan.
4. In addition, there was an opinion that, when enforcement of policies concerning the above-mentioned fields are discussed within the framework of “Sport for Tomorrow (SFT),” not only should current schemes be discussed, such as dispatching volunteers of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), but the possibility of new policies should also be considered.