Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
Agenda item 11: Sport for peace and development:
Building a peaceful and better world through sports and the Olympic ideal
Sixty-Eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
06 November 2013
Japan highly appreciates the efforts made by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, his Special Advisor on Sports for Development and Peace. Mr. Wilfred Lemke, and Mr. John Ashe and Mr. Vuk Jeremić, the current and the former Presidents of the General Assembly toward achieving human development and peace through sport.
Sports can connect the world. Sports are capable of uniting and inspiring people in a way that transcends differences such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, or political persuasion. Sports are a gift that can be shared by all, despite our varying abilities. It is for reasons such as these that Japan is committed to conveying and sharing the joy of sports and creating a better world through sport. In line with this commitment, we believe that sport should be promoted by the international community, and that it should be made available and accessible to all. No one should be left out, and in particular women and the disabled should be able to enjoy the same benefits and pleasures of sports as everyone else.
Japan appreciates the various efforts of the international community to promote the positive use of sports to build a peaceful and better world. For example, Japan, as a co-sponsor, welcomes the resolution on the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace that was adopted in August under the initiative of the United Nations and the IOC. I would also like to commend the Russian Federation for promoting this year’s Olympic Truce resolution. Japan, as a co-sponsor of that resolution as well, strongly supports its spirit of ‘build[ing] a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal’. We firmly believe that the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to be hosted in Sochi next year will realize the ideals and objectives of this resolution.
On 7 September, this year, Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who supported Tokyo to host the Games. I also wish to heartily commend the tireless efforts of the campaigns conducted by both Madrid and Istanbul. We were in a truly neck-and-neck competition right down to the very final moments.
Toward the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, we are committed to conveying and sharing the joy of sports and creating a better world through sport. To that end, as Prime Minister Abe stated in the IOC Session, Japan will further contribute to the Olympic movement through implementing various programmes under our new plan, ‘Sport for Tomorrow’, targeted toward more than 10 million people in more than 100 countries including developing countries over the next 7 years.
Specifically, we intend to concentrate on the improvement of sports facilities, cooperation in sports curricula design, and the development of international human resources in the sporting arena through invitational programmes as well as to dispatch coaches and athletes. In addition, we will work closely with concerned organizations in further strengthening international anti-doping activities.
Japan will continue to collaborate with Mr. Lemke (the SG’s Special Advisor on Sports for Development and Peace) and his office (UNOSDP: United Nations Sport for Development and Peace). Among its initiatives, Tokyo will host the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme Camp in January next year.
In the wake of the Earthquake of 2011, the people of Japan received warm support and encouragement from the IOC and the international sports community. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London served as a great source of imagination to the people of Japan, and once again opened our eyes to the inherent power of sport to inspire dreams, hopes and aspirations, and to strengthen the bonds between people, thus experiencing ourselves the power of sport to make the world a better place.
Now it is our turn to do the same. Toward the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan will further strengthen our contribution to the achievement of human development and peace through sport. Japan will make every effort to realize Games which captivate and inspire people around all over the world. We look forward to your support and cooperation.
I thank you.