Publicity Campaign and Pilgrimage to Organizing Committee on the rise for Tokyo Olympics… Bowling, Karate, Tug of War

(Photo: Front page of Sports Hochi on January 22, the day after the joint press conference by WBSC, NPB, BFJ and JSA. The title reads “Support plea for reinstatement of baseball/softball in Tokyo Olympics.)

Let our sport join 2020 Tokyo Olympics! Intense marketing by sports aiming to be listed on additional events to be chosen by Organizing Committee of the host city. Not to be outdone by hot favorite baseball/softball, bowling, tug of war, billiard and others have announced candidacy. The screening by the Committee will start from February but President Yoshiro Mori is fed up with too many applicants.
“Bowling is the number one and confident to win, ” said Tsutomu Takebe, President of Japan Bowling Association, former minister of Farm ministry and Secretary General of Liberal Democrat Party. Karate goes a step further. With the support of the Federation of Diet Members headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga who practiced Karate at Hosei University, President Espinoza of World Karate Federation (Spain) met President Mori ahead of other sports. Appointment schedule of President Mori is filled by his political friends and leaders of IFs. He has made it a rule to meet only once for each IF and any further approaches will be “penalized.”

Nevertheless, in an effort not to start late, other sports bodies are accelerating actions. President Ramachandran (India) of the World Squash Federation met President Mori on January 20th and delivered an impassioned speech that “Duration is only for 5 days and it is compact.”. Meantime, baseball/softball appears to be relaxed. President Fraccari met President Mori accompanied by Sadaharu Oh and others on January 21, and commented “ We will wait official process of IOC”. His way of appeal was a reserved one.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee will start studies by 7-member panel on new sports for the 2020 Games and proposed additional sports to IOC aiming for the decision at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur in July. President Mori mentioned at a press conference on January 14 that studies will take into account popularity in and outside of Japan and spread of the sports. No concrete plans as to the number of additional sports and others are not known yet. They plan to discuss with IOC in early February whether the Organizing Committee’s view will prevail or need to consult IOC.
Tokyo City Mayor Yoichi Masuzoe said “Anybody is free to make proposals. However, I must express doubt me if it includes the construction of new venue or need substantial expense, additional sports should be the one convincing to the Metropolitan population.”
(Approximate and partial translation of the January 23, 2014 issue of The Asahi.)