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News and Events

Kakuda City declares intent to become an Active City

May 21, 2024

On February 3rd, 2024, Kakuda City declared its intent to become an Active City that aims to build an active community through sports and physical activity.

1. General Information on Kakuda City

Kakuda is a provincial city located in the Sennan District of Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region, approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Tokyo. With an area of 147.53 square kilometers (56.96 square miles), it has a population of 26,483 as of March 2024. Like many rural areas in Japan, the city is grappling with the issue of an aging population, with agriculture serving as its primary industry.

2. SSF’s Policy Proposal, Regional Sport Management Organization (RSMO)

In 2017, SSF began offering local municipalities comprehensive sports-focused policy proposals, including the specific proposal for the establishment of a Regional Sport Management Organization (RSMO). An RSMO is a regional sports platform that aims to create a sustainable environment for local sports and to revitalize communities through sports. By consolidating existing sports promotion organizations to combine their human and financial resources, it aims to overcome the challenges that can result from declining populations and aging demographics, such as shortages of labor, resources, and funding.

Kakuda City, among other municipalities, has sought proactively to incorporate SSF’s proposal into its policies. In April 2019, Kakuda City and SSF concluded a partnership agreement toward regional revitalization through sports, specifically to establish and operate an RSMO together. Subsequently, as part of this collaboration, Kakuda City established its own version of an RSMO, named Sports Network Kakuda (Sponet Kakuda), in September 2019 with the vision of creating a bright, enjoyable, healthy, and active community (an Active City) through sports. Sponet Kakuda currently consists of eight organizations including public sports associations, a community sports club, the operating bodies of local sports facilities, and a university. SSF staff have also been contributing by serving as advisors.

The city launched its Active Child Program (ACP) in 2020 as one of the outputs of its RSMO initiative. An ACP is an exercise program that is developed and promoted by the Japan Sport Association (JSPO), a member organization of TAFISA-JAPAN, for children to build necessary motor skills while enjoying a variety of activities and forms of play. Under the auspices of the Japan Sports Agency, Sponet Kakuda, and SSF have been working together to develop a version of an ACP for Kakuda City. The article linked below describes one of Kakuda City’s 2022 ACP events led by a professor from Sendai University who specializes in physical education for young people.

SSF members recently participated in a baby aquatics event, organized as part of Sponet Kakuda’s projects in April 2024. The event attracted 25 parent-child pairs and featured fun activities like aqua walking and games with balls. In the future, the organizer intends to turn this into a regular event so it can provide an opportunity for parents and children to enjoy sports and physical activities together.

3. Background Behind the Declaration

An Active City is a municipality where public and private individuals and organizations that promote sports and other physical activities strive to address social issues and contribute to better health and well-being for their residents through the various values of sports and other physical activities. Active City also refers to the condition where sports and other physical activities contribute to quality of life, safety, and peace of mind for every resident, including those who may not be able to engage in sports or physical activities. Through the outcomes of its RSMO and ACP initiatives, Kakuda City has realized that more comprehensive efforts are needed to build a better and more sustainable community. As a result, it formulated the idea to declare its intention to become an Active City.

4. Kakuda City’s Active City Declaration

The summary of Kakuda City’s declaration is as follows.

  • With the ongoing decline in birthrates and the aging population in Japan, it is essential for the future promotion of sports to extend beyond individual preferences and to embrace efforts toward community development and regional revitalization.
  • We must strive to expand non-resident visitor inflow and to foster sustainable communities through collaborations with organizations in the healthcare, nursing care, childcare, and other fields.
  • We aim to help every individual to enjoy sports to maintain or further enhance their health through our city’s initiatives tailored to the different life stages of our citizens. Specifically, we will strive to encourage citizens who are less engaged in sports and physical activity to participate in such activities.
  • Based on these considerations, we hereby declare our commitment to transforming into Active City Kakuda, where residents live bright, joyful, healthy, and energetic lives through sports, as well as to promoting happiness among our citizens.

This declaration was made during the 2023 Kakuda City Sports Awards Ceremony on February 3rd, 2024 to honor individuals and groups who have made outstanding achievements in sports over the previous year. SSF President Kazutoshi Watanabe was invited to the ceremony and delivered a speech, which was followed by a video message from Japan Sports Agency Commissioner Koji Murofushi. Kakuda City is the second municipality (after Kobe City) to incorporate the Active City concept into its comprehensive policy planning.

Further details of the Kakuda’s effort will be published on our website in Japanese.

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