Brighton+Helsinki2014 Declaration signed in Tokyo indicates Japan’s strong commitment to social change

by Lila de Soysa

TOKYO, April 12, 2017- The top sport authorities of Japan – Japan Sports Agency, Japan Sport Council, Japanese Olympic Committee, Japan Sports Association and the Japanese Para Sports Association/Japanese Paralympic Committee joined forces and pledged to promote gender equity in sport, in the run up to Tokyo 2020. The Brighton+ Helsinki declaration, a legacy of the International women and sport movement, upheld by the International Working Group for Women in sport (IWG), was signed at the Japan Sport Agency, in the presence of the Co-Chair of the IWG, Ruth Maphorisa from Botswana.

The signing was preceded the day before by the Women Sport Leadership Conference 2017 held at Juntendo University, organised by the Japanese Center for Research on Women in Sport (JCRWS) and co-hosted by the Japanese Association for Women in Sport (JWS). The conference aimed at promoting discussion and debate on how Japan can ensure positive legacies on women and sport issues as host nation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The conference was attended by Mr. Tetsuya Kimura, Director-General, Japan Sports Agency, who said that Japan is aiming to create “sustainable social change” through the opportunity provided by Tokyo 2020. Mr. Kimura explained that the “Kihon Keikaku” (Basic Sport Plan) had been revised in order to accommodate several future actions to reduce gender inequality in Japanese sport.

The conference held two workshops focusing on international and national perspectives, which discussed concrete actions for Tokyo 2020. The international workshop, pointed out the common goals set by the Japanese government which is advocating 30% women in
managerial positions in government and business (Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Womenomics) by 2020 and the IOC goal of 30% women in leadership positions in the Olympic movement by 2020. A young participant at the conference raised the question as to why these targets were still so low? If the goal was to reach excellence, one should strive for excellence and one would achieve better results. If one wished to win a gold medal at the Olympics and decided that 30% effort would be enough, would one even qualify for the event? Food for thought!

The students and staff of Tsukuba University and Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies TIAS attended the conference. Prof. Kaori Yamaguchi, gave a keynote speech.

Lilamani de Soysa, TIAS International Relations Manager, facilitated the international workshop. TIAS Master’s students Momoko Narimatsu, acted as rapporteur and Jaimie Tani documented the discussions. A TIAS media team produced the press release, tweets and
FB posts from the conference.

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