Kazutoshi Watanabe, President
Sasakawa Sports Foundation
A think tank whose every dream and action is taken with the future in mind.
The activities of the Sasakawa Sports Foundation (SSF) are aimed at creating a "Sport for Everyone society" in which everyone enjoys sports in a manner that fits their own lifestyle and interests.
Sports not only have the power to maintain and improve mental and physical health, but also the mysterious ability (value) to act as a universal remedy that helps people grow and encourages the formation of society.
As we see changes in demographic movement that are unprecedented anywhere in the world, Japan faces a variety of social issues. SSF is working to utilize scientific investigation and research to convert that mysterious ability into objective and easy-to-understand data and language and develop projects and programs that help as many people as possible enjoy their lives through sports, and projects and programs that help solve social issues, among other things.
Last year, Rugby World Cup 2019 filled Japan with excitement, and we saw an increase in interest not only in rugby, but in sports in general. Then, just as that momentum was moving forward to the Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics, and expectations were high for an increase in the number of people participating in sports, the novel coronavirus began to spread, and we were hit with the stagnation of social activity worldwide. In the "new normal" (our new lifestyle under the coronavirus peril), socio-economic activities continue to be limited, and our sports environment has also been subject to enormous restrictions. SSF's ingenuity and ability to take action toward achieving a Sport for Everyone society are now being tested.
It is also likely that our battle against changes in the global environment and the accompanying natural disasters and communicable diseases will continue as well. As we reflect on history, we see that we have faced a variety of threats in the past as well. In 2011, following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, there were concerns regarding the health of evacuees. These included the issue of children getting insufficient physical exercise. However, many individuals and organizations working together gradually reduced the problem.
It is impossible to completely eliminate all crises faced by the human race. What is important is to establish a mobile system that makes it possible for people to work together in such a manner at any time, and to spread that system throughout the world. SSF believes that difficulties are an opportunity to do so, and we will focus even more effort on achieving a society in which as many people as possible can enjoy the power of sports and live healthy lives.
Fortunately, we have already built a broad network of personal connections, and have a rich store of information and knowledge. We will utilize, enhance, and expand these to move forward with convincing cross-disciplinary research based on the insights of both the social sciences and the natural sciences, and return the findings to society as quickly as possible through collaboration with a variety of individuals and organizations. Let us do this to achieve a Sport for Everyone society which we aim at.