We use cookies to optimize and continuously improve our website for individual users. By closing this banner or continuing to view the website, you are agreeing to the use of cookies for this purpose, as detailed in our Privacy Policy.

Accept cookies
Japan’s Data + Sports

The concept of “Regional Sport Management Organization” and a case study of Kakuda City

Aug. 7, 2023

Regional Sport Management Organization (RSMO) is the Sasakawa Sports Foundation (SSF)’s unique concept for policy proposal to build an active city through sports. A Japanese municipality, Kakuda City, has been implementing the concept of RSMO on a pilot basis since 2019.

A) Overview and four steps to begin

The SSF works closely with local governments to build “Active Cities,” one of the 13 themes identified in the TAFISA Mission 2030. In Active Cities, physical activity is prioritized everywhere that people live and work with the aim of promoting physical, mental, and social well-being. The SSF advocates for the establishment of Regional Sport Management Organizations (RSMO), which are a platform for both public and private sectors committed to local sport promotion, to maximize the effectiveness of limited human, fiscal, and other resources in promoting local sports initiatives.


Here are four steps to formulate a RSMO in a municipality.

Step 1
Share the Purpose
Hold a workshop to share the issues and purpose with all stakeholders involved in local sport promotion. This will be the basis of the platform. (The parent body for the platform should be the Municipality, Local Sports Association, Community Sport Clubs, or Sport Commission.)
Step 2
Develop a Vision
Develop a vision for local sport promotion with all stakeholders. (This refers to the Local Sport Promotion Plan developed by municipalities if such a plan exists.)
Step 3
Establish Platform Structure
Establish an RSMO as a new regional sports platform to clarify the roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder and work together to achieve the vision while solving the issues surrounding regional sports.
Step 4
Promote Economic Cycles
Secure financial independence by developing various businesses (holding sporting events, opening sporting classes/sessions, inviting training camps, etc.). If possible, share the profits with the local public sport sector to develop other sport promotion activities.

Conceptual Diagram of RSMO

Conceptual Diagram of RSMO

B) Case study: Kakuda City

SSF has been working closely with Kakuda City to develop it as an Active City since 2016. Through collaboration with SSF, Kakuda City adopted the idea of RSMO and established Sponet Kakuda in 2019 as its original RSMO. Multiple stakeholders, such as municipality officials, local sports associations, community leaders, facility managers, local sport clubs, schools, and local universities or sport federations, have worked together to make it an active city.

Map of Kakuda

Background of establishing an RSMO in Kakuda City

  1. Expectations for the Power of Sports
    • In 2017, the national government (Japan Sports Agency) started Japan’s second Sport Basic Plan
    • The city started considering establishing its new Roadside Station (Michi no Eki; a base for promoting local tourism) next to a local sports facility
  2. Difficulties in continuing to provide sports opportunities due to limited human resources related to Japan’s Hyper-Aging Society
  3. Launch of the SSF’s sport policy proposal, Regional Sport Management Organization (RSMO), in 2017

Sponet Kakuda consists of four teams, namely 1) Promotion Team, 2) Sport for Children Team, 3) School Club Transfer Team, and 4) Sport Hub Development Team. Sponet Kakuda prioritizes a series of themes from both the “inner” and “outer” perspectives for the city.

1) Themes from the inner perspective

  • How to engage more people to enjoy sports and physical activities
  • How to change the mindset toward sports among local residents

2) Themes from the outer perspective

  • How to develop and promote sport tourism in Kakuda

C) Kakuda Active Child Program (Example of a collaborative initiative between SSF and Sponet Kakuda)

Promoting Children’s Growth Through Sports -An Active City Initiative in Northern Japan (SSF) https://youtu.be/JeslRGzgZKI

The Active Child Program (ACP) is an exercise program developed and promoted by the Japan Sport Association (JSPO), a member organization of TAFISA-JAPAN, to enable children to learn necessary motor skills while enjoying play. Under the auspices of the Japan Sports Agency, SSF and Sponet Kakuda have developed Kakuda’s version of ACP.

Target Effects (From survey results after attending the program)
Pre-school children 94.7% of pre-school children answered that they enjoy exercise and play after participating in the workshop.
Childcare workers 100% of childcare workers who participated in the workshop answered that they would like to continue the program.
Parents/Guardians 96.3% of parents/guardians who participated in the workshop answered that it inspired and motivated them to have their children exercise.

Details of ACP are available in the SSF article “Promoting Children’s Growth Through Sports.”

D) Conclusion

As one of the key messages of RSMO is “No to silos! Yes to unity!,” it is crucial to collect knowledge, human, and financial resources broadly from both the public and private sectors of the municipality. Based on this concept and on the idea of RSMO, SSF is striving with local communities to promote Sport for All, and to realize a Sport for Everyone society.

Page TOP