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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 11 - 17  > Sports organization works on ensuring law's stipulation, 'sport is human right'
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2018 April 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sports organization works on ensuring law's stipulation, 'sport is human right'

April 12, 2018
The number of public sports facilities in Japan has been decreasing since its peak in 1996. According to the Sports Agency, people who enjoyed sports at least once a week accounted for 42.5% in 2016, down 5 percentage points from 2012. In contrast, the percentage of those who did not take part in sports at all increased to 36.8% from 22.6% in the same period of time.

Enforced in 2011, the Basic Act on Sports articulates, "[S]port is the right of the people." The reality, however, has been contrary to this pledge.

The New Japan Sports Federation was established in 1965 under the banner, "Sports are universal human rights." The federation, also known for its peace and antinuke activities, frequently holds meetings and negotiations with local governments throughout Japan to create an environment where everyone can enjoy sports as stipulated in the Basic Act on Sports.

The federation's Chiba chapter, for example, contributed to the installation of traffic lights in front of sports facilities through requests made to the Chiba prefectural government and the Chiba City municipality. The chapter also had them draw no-entry lines near tennis courts where cars passed dangerously close to the courts.

The chapter in Kanagawa's Kawasaki City successfully urged the municipality to show the public for the first time a breakdown of the sports budget in 2011 and a breakdown of the subsidies to sports organizations in 2018. The chapter leader, Ishikawa Masashi said they will check to see if the subsidies comply with the objectives of sports promotion and will propose more effective uses if they find it necessary.

However, many municipalities do not agree to building additional sports facilities. Because of the central government policy of abolishing and merging public institutions, the Sports Agency cannot come up with a plan to increase sporting opportunities. The agency told the New Japan Sports Federation in February last year to use open spaces, facilities, or equipment in schools.

The federation in March this year held a national assembly and discussed ways to break through the situation. Wajiki Akio, the federation president, said, "We will work hand-in-hand with all sports lovers, sports officials, and sports groups in order to foster a better understanding of sports among people and to realize better conditions in sports. So, our slogan this year is, 'Let's work to expand the pleasures of sports to all people'."

Past related articles:
> 2015 anti-nuke 1,800-km relay marathon departs from Fukushima to Nagasaki [July 26 and 28, 2015]
> Make new agency useful in improving sports environment: JCP Miyamoto [April 18, 2015]
> Tokyo places 46th out of 47 in public sports facilities per capita [June 18, 2013]
> ‘Health and Sports Day’, reminder of the need to promote sports [October 8, 2012]

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