Japan

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Japan

Prepared by: Greg Blood, Emeritus Researcher, Australian Institute of Sport
Updated by: Greg Blood (September 2016)
Reviewed by: International Association for Sports Information (IASI)
Scheduled release: August 2016

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Index of content:


Introduction

Japan first participated at the Olympic Games in 1912, and has competed at almost every Games since then. The nation was not invited to the 1948 Games after World War II, and Japan was part of the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. (Wikipedia 2016)

Table 1: Key national performance metrics

Population

GDP

Summer Olympic 
Gold Medal
Ranking
(
2016)

Winter Olympic
Gold Medal
Ranking
(2014)

Summer Paralympic
Gold Medal
Ranking
(
2016)
Winter Paralympic
Gold Medal
Ranking
(
2014)

Asian Games
Gold Medal
(2010)

128 million (2012) 5.96 trillion (2012) 6th 17th 64th 7th

3rd

 


Sport Structure and Governance 

Federal Government

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (the MEXT) is the principal Federal Government Ministry responsible for sport in Japan. The MEXT's key objectives include:

  • Increasing sport opportunities for children; 
  • Promoting sport activities in line with the life stages;
  • Improving community sport environments; and, 
  • Enhancing the international competitiveness of athletes. 

In October 2015, Japan Sport Agency was established under MEXT its aim is to bring together sports administration that had been dispersed among multiple ministries, including the education, health, labour and welfare ministeries.  Its objective was for more efficient budgetary management to help improve the performance of Japanese athletes ahead of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has four divisions: school health, sports promotion, youth and competitive sports.

 

Overview

  • Sport in Japan is largely state sponsored and to some extent institutionalised.
  • The MEXT appropriates funding to sports through its leading national agency for sport, the Japan Sports Council (JSC).
  • The Japan Sports Association (JASA) is responsible for promoting community awareness of national sporting activities.
  • Early exposure to a broad range of sports is given a high priority in Japanese schools (free after-school sport is available to all students in middle and high schools).
  • Major professional and culturally iconic sports in Japan such as baseball, softball, football, Sumo and martial arts are less dependent on government funding.
  • The private/corporate sector in Japan plays a key role in supporting and sponsoring high profile sporting teams and elite athletes.

Funding to Sport

Table 2: Government funding to sport.

 Organisation  2014  2015
 Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology  ¥ 25.5 billion  ¥ 29.0 billion
[Source:Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology FY 2015 Budget Highlights]

The JSC receives funding through the Sports Promotion Lottery (known as "Toto"). In 2012 the JSC reported a lottery profit of USD $205 million and that these funds were distributed to 3,070 sports organisation and clubs. 


High performance system

Memorandum of Understanding

  • Japan Sports Council has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Sports Commission. It was signed in August 2013

Organisations

Performance Targets

  • Japan's Sports Plan has the aim of 5th place and 10th gold medal tally place at the Summer and Winter Olympics respectively.
  • Targets for the 2016 Paralympic Games are not available. 

Operating Approach

  • Investment is targeted - the JSC provides funding to national sporting federations (NFs) - priority sports include Archery, Athletics, Gymnastics, Judo, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, and Wrestling.
  • The investment model appears to be transitioning to a more performance based accountability approach – particularly for Olympic sports.
  • The JSC funds the JOC, JISS, NTC, and a further network of 21 smaller sports training centres across the country including two altitude training facilities.
  • Over the past decade Japan has invested strongly in developing a high performance sports precinct in the Kita-Ku region of Tokyo. This integrated daily training environment (DTE) includes the JISS, JOC, NTC, a covered athletics track, and athlete residences.
  • The NTC houses the main administration functions of many NFs.
  • NFs purchase DTE services with their allocated funding. NFs are permitted to purchase services from private sector or government/JSC sponsored providers.
  • Japan continues to foster an integrated high performance sport service provider network. ‘Team Nippon’ is a multi-support project established in 2012 to improve cooperation between universities, research institutions, and the private sector. The collaboration is focussed on improving sport science and medicine practice, sports equipment and technology applications development, and coaching, training and athlete conditioning methodology.
  • In 2014,thirty prefectures and eight ordinance-designated cities have allocated a cumulative total of about ¥1.7 billion in their fiscal year’s initial budgets to develop young athletes and bid for training camps for athletes in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. ukushima Prefecture, which hopes to send more than 10 athletes to the Olympics, allocated ¥24.94 million to develop athletes. One of the most famous athletes from the prefecture is Kokichi Tsuburaya, who won a bronze medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics 50 years ago. There have been five medalists since then, but none since the 2004 Athens Olympics. To try to make a bigger impact at the Tokyo Games, the prefecture decided to partly subsidize the cost of participating in training camps in Japan and in friendly matches and training camps abroad for players aged 15 to 20 who finish above third place in individual sports and above fourth place in team sports in national tournaments. 
  • Japan is presently preparing to host of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Funding to High Performance Sport 

High performance funding - ¥14.8 billion (A$155m) (2013-14)

Table 3: JSC high performance funding breakdown

Activity

Funding

Athlete financial assistance ¥1.0 billion (A$10.4m)
Training camp assistance ¥395 million (A$4.1m)
Talent identification and development ¥1.1 billion (A$11.3m)
NF activities ¥2.9 billion (A$30.3m)
Local government activities ¥609 million (A$6.4m)
JOC activities ¥2.6 billion (A$27.3m)
Hosting National Competitions
¥305 million (A$3.1m)
Hosting International Competition ¥381 million (A$4.0m)
Researches on Paralympic Sports Development ¥22.4 million ($A0.2m)
Multi-Support Projects ¥2.8 billion (A$29.4m)
NTC Project Management ¥658.5 million  (A$6.9m)
Sport Youth Athlete Development Project ¥1.4 billion (A$14.7m)
Athlete and coach competition assistance ¥640 million (A$6.4m)

Team Nippon Multi Support Project

Table 4: Funding categories

Target Individual Sports Team Sports Athlete Support * Multi Support
A Competition medal more than one, including the gold medal is expected. Competition gold medal is expected Implemented in all areas Top priority use
B Competition medal is expected that the competition there is a possibility that more than one medal Competition medal is expected Implementation in the field of majority Priority use
C  Competition there is a possibility of medal  Competition there is a possibility of medal  Implemented in some areas  Use
* Athlete support includes: fitness, training, nutrition, psychology, motion analysis, racing game analysis, medicine, information strategy and management.

Direct Athlete Assistance  

  • The direct athlete assistance budget in 2014 was ¥1.0billion ($10.5m AUD)
  • Approximately 650 elite athletes in 2012-13 received JSC financial assistance in accordance with advice received from the JOC and NFs, based on a performance merit system.
  • Publicly available figures (2006) indicate three categories of direct financial support: A- ¥200,000/month ($2,130 AUD), B - ¥100,000/month ($1,065 AUD), C- ¥50,000/month ($530 AUD).
  • The private sector also plays a key role in supporting (and employing) podium potential athletes – for example, basketball and volleyball national team members are salaried by their corporate company sponsors.

High Performance Centres

Japan has a National Training Centre managed by the Japan Sports Council and 21 specific sports training centres. 

Table 5: High performance centres

Type Name Sports
National Training Centre Ajinomoto National Training Center Athletics, Swimming, Wrestling, Judo, Boxing, Weightlifting, Tennis, Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Badminton
Sports specific J-GREEN SAKAI Football
Sports specific Gifu Prefectural Green Stadium Hockey
Sports specific Japan Cycle Sports Center Cycling
Sports specific Gotenba Horsemanship and Sports Center Equestrian
Sports specific Nagatoro Shooting Range Shooting Rifle 
Sports specific JSDF Physical Training School Modern Pentathlon
Sports specific TSUMAGOI Archery
Sports specific Toda Park Boat Course & Toda  Boathouse Rowing
Sports specific Wakayama Sailing Center Sailing
Sports specific Kibagata Canoe Course Canoeing
Sports specific Sapporo Jump Stadium (Okurayama, Miyanomori) Ski Jumping
Sports specific M-Wave Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena Speed Skating
Sports specific  Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi Oval Speed Skating
Sports specific Chyukyo University Aurora Hall Figure Skating
Sports specific Teisan Ice Skate Training Center Short Track Speed Skating
Sports specific Tomakomai City Hakucho Arena Ice Hockey 
Sports specific Spiral Nagano Bobsleigh Luge Park Bobsleigh/Luge
Sports specific Scap Karuizawa Curling
Sports specific Nishioka Biathlon Stadium Biathlon
Training Hida Ontake Kougen Highland Sports Training Area High Altitude Training 
Training Zao Bodaira Athlete Village High Altitude Training 

 


Athlete Career and Development 

JOC Career Academy Program provides workshops and counselling elite athletes to overcome the various career transitions. 


Talent development 

Japan Sports Council has developed an  Athlete Development Pathway Project. It has a regional network athr focuses on targeted spots, multi-sports and transfer sports. 

JOC Elite Academy Program  is where the  JOC and sports associations are working together to discover young athletes. It is linked with the National Training Center. It collaborates with regional educational institutions mainly in Kita City in the sports of wrestling, table tennis and fencing.

National Sports Festival of Japan - official annual event under the Sports Promotion Law, and since then the festivals have been held jointly by the Japan Sports Association, the Ministry of Education,Culture,Sports, Science and Technology and the hosting prefectures.


Coaching and leadership development

National Coach Academy is part of the "Sports Basic Plan. Its is aimed at individuals who want to become JOC Caching Directors in each sports association and the training of their staff members for the purpose of training true elite coaches and various staff members that can train and instruct athletes for high performance in international competitions such as the Olympic Games. The program consists mainly of interactive information exchanges between the participants and instructors along with the knowledge necessary for coaching, dialogs and presentations.  

40 national coaches are directly employed by JOC, who provide a standard amount of ¥1,000,000 (US$100,000) per position, with the NF topping up the salary where necessary. A small number of foreign coaches are included in this group.Broad based coaching programs are developed and conducted by JASA. In some sports, it is compulsory to have a formal coaching qualification. The JOC undertakes a number of coaching programs for the coaches at the elite level. 

Japan Sports Association is responsible for fitness , coaching, sports physician and administration course accreditation. 


Sports science, medicine and technology

The development of the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences (JISS) in 2001 is an important step in developing the delivery of sports science and medicine services for National Teams. These services are not nationally coordinated and historically have been accessed by NSOs through contacts with Universities. Application of sports science and medicine has not historically a key element of elite programs.

JISS

Is responsible for support of elite programs in the areas of sports science, sports medicine and information.

Works in partnership with JOC and the National Federations (NF) to provide support to national team programs. JISS support is based on NF requests with targeted sports receiving priority as there is a limited capacity to service all requests. Decisions as to the services provided to sports are made by a scientific committee.

Has 60 staff including 4 full time medical doctors.

NFs purchase services from JISS funding received from the JOC although they can also use other providers. 


Results and statistics

Olympic Games Medal Reports - Podium and Top 8 Placings (Infostrada)

Table 6: Summer Olympic Games (2000-2016) Medal Analysis

Sydney 2000 Athens 2004 Beijing 2008 London 2012  Rio 2016

Gold medal rank

 15th 5th 8th 11th  6th

Medals

Gold - 5
Silver - 8
Bronze - 5
Total - 18

Gold - 16
Silver - 9
Bronze - 12
Total - 37

Gold - 9
Silver - 6
Bronze - 10
Total - 25

Gold - 7
Silver - 14
Bronze - 7 
Total - 38

 Gold - 12
Silver - 8
Bronze - 21 
Total - 41

No. sports medalled in

7 11 9  13  11

No. multi-medal sports

2 6 4  5  8
Archery - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 - 0 - 1 - 1 = 2  -
Athletics 1 - 0 - 0 = 1 2 - 0 - 0 = 2 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  0 - 1 - 1 = 2
Badminton - - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  1 - 0 - 1 = 2
Baseball - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 -  n/a  n/a
Boxing - - - 1 - 0 - 1 = 2  -
Canoeing  -  -  -  -  0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Cycling   0 - 1 - 0 = 1 0 - 0 - 1 = 1    -
Fencing  -  - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  -
Football  - - - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  -
Gymnastics  - 1 - 1 - 2 = 4  0 - 2 - 0 = 2  1 - 2 - 0 = 3   2 - 0 - 1 = 3
Judo 4 - 2 - 2 = 8 8 -2 - 0 = 10 4 - 1 - 2 = 7 1 - 3 - 3 = 7  3 - 1 - 8 = 12
Sailing  - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  -  -  -
Softball 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 1 - 0 - 0 = 1  n/a  n/a
Swimming 0 - 2 - 2 = 4 3 - 1 - 4 = 8 2 - 0 - 3 = 5 0 - 3 - 8 = 11  2 - 2 - 3 = 7
Synchronised Swimming 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 -  0 - 0 - 2 = 2
Table Tennis - - - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  0 - 1 - 2 = 3
Taekwondo 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 - - -  -
Volleyball - - - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  -
Weightlifting - - - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Wrestling 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 2 - 1 - 3 = 6 2 - 2 -  2 = 6 4 - 0 - 2 = 6  4 - 3 - 0 = 7

n/a - not on Olympic program 

Table 7: Winter Olympic Games (2002-2014) Medal Analysis 

Salt Lake 2002 Torino 2006 Vancouver 2010

Sochi 2014

Gold medal rank

21 18 20 17

Medals

Gold - 0
Silver - 1
Bronze - 1
Total - 2

Gold - 1
Silver - 0
Bronze - 0
Total - 1

Gold - 0
Silver - 3
Bronze - 2
Total - 5

Gold - 1
Silver - 4
Bronze - 3
Total - 8

Number of sport medals won

2 2 2 5

Number of sports two or more medal won (multi-medal)

0 0 2 2
Figure Skating    1 - 0 - 0 = 1  0 - 1 - 1 = 2  1 - 0 - 0 = 1
Freestyle Skiing  0 - 0 - 1 = 1      0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Nordic Combined        0 - 1 - 0 = 1

Ski Jumping

       0 - 1 - 1 = 2
Snowboarding        0 - 2 - 1 = 3
Speed Skating   0 - 1 - 0 = 1     0 - 2 - 1 = 3  

Paralympic Games Medal Reports - Podium and Top 8 Placings (Infostrada)

Table 8: Summer Paralympic Games (2000-2016) Medal Analysis

Sydney 2000 Athens 2004 Beijing 2008 London 2012  Rio 2016

Gold medal rank

12th 10th 17th 24th  64th

Medals

Gold - 13
Silver - 17
Bronze - 11
 Total - 41
Gold - 17
Silver - 15
Bronze - 20
 Total - 52

 Gold -5
Silver - 14
Bronze - 8
Total -27

Gold - 5
Silver - 5
Bronze - 6
Total - 16
 Gold - 0
Silver - 10
Bronze - 14
Total -  24

No. sports medalled in

7 7

6

6  7

No. multi-medal sports

4 5 4 2  5
Archery 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 0 - 2 - 1 = 3 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 -  -
Athletics 2 - 10 - 5 = 17 7 - 4 - 7 = 18

2 - 7 - 3 = 12

0 - 3 - 1 = 4  0 - 4 - 3 = 7
Basketball (Wheelchair) 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 - - -  -
Cycling 1  - 1 - 0 = 2 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 1 - 3 - 2 = 6 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  0 - 2 - 0 = 2
Goalball - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 - 1 - 0 - 0 = 1  -
Judo 1 - 0 - 2 = 3 1 - 2 - 1 = 4 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 1 - 0 - 0 = 1  0 - 1 -3 = 4
Swimming 9 - 5 - 1 = 15 8 - 6 - 9 = 23 1 - 2 - 2 = 5 2 - 2 - 4 = 8  0 - 2 - 5 = 7
Table tennis 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 - -  -
Tennis (Wheelchair)  - 1 - 0 - 0 = 1 1 - 0 - 1 = 2 1 - 0 - 0 = 1  0 - 0 - 2 = 2
Wheelchair rugby  -  -  -  -  0 - 0 - 1 = 1

Table 9: Winter Paralympic Games (2002-2014) Medal Analysis

Salt Lake 2002 Torino 2006 Vancouver 2010

Sochi 2014

Gold medal rank

22 8 8 7

Medals

Gold - 0
Silver - 0
Bronze - 3
Total - 3

Gold - 2
Silver - 5
Bronze - 2
Total - 9

Gold - 3
Silver - 3
Bronze - 5
Total - 11

Gold -3
Silver - 1
Bronze - 2
Total - 6

Number of sport medals won

2 2 3 2

Number of sports two or more medal won (multi-medal)

1 2 2 1
Alpine skiing  0 - 0 - 2 = 2  1 - 4 - 1 = 6  1 - 1 - 5 = 7  3 - 1 - 1 = 5
Biathlon    1 - 1 - 1= 3    0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Cross country skiing  0 - 0 - 1 = 1    2 - 1 - 0 = 3  
Ice sledge hockey      0 - 1 - 0 = 1  

Participation 


Competitive Intelligence

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International networking

  • The ASC's principal sport information contact on the ground in Japan is Prof Chikara Miyaji, Head of Information Department, JISS. 

System strengths

  • A highly coordinated and integrated DTE network employing leading national and international coaches, sports practitioners, and other world leading specialists.
  • Ongoing public and private sector investment in sport research and innovative approaches to improve athletic performance (i.e. ‘Team Nippon’)
  • Strong role and investment in high performance sport by Universities including providing employment for national coaches and provision of high quality training environments for athletes.
  • Strong Government and community support for high performance sport during preparations and the build-up toward Tokyo 2020.
  • A targeted approach to high performance sports funding.
  • A strong foundation in multi-medal combat and other technical sports.
  • A well organised school sport system, providing a sound base for junior athlete development.

System weaknesses

  • Government funding pressures due to post tsunami disaster reconstruction efforts.
  • Local competition between Olympic/Paralympic sports and non-Olympic professional codes for lucrative private sector investment. 
  • Language is often a barrier when attempting to recruit external expertise or accessing current sports and scientific literature on leading practice.
  • Difficulty for Summer Olympic sports to compete with professional football (soccer) for talented juniors (particularly men) and for sponsorship support.
  • Many national coaches are voluntary, often working as academics in Universites and provided time to undertake national team coaching responsibilities.

Relevance to Australian Environment

  • Like Australia, the Federal Government coordinates and funds the high performance sport system. Unlike Australia, Government funding is supplemented significantly with income from national lottery earnings and corporate sector support. 
  • The JSC, through the NTC and JISS, leads and coordinates a national and highly integrated DTE network with strong ongoing investment in world class facilities and hi-tech infrastructure. Again this is like the AIS having direct influence over SIS/SAS investment and service priority considerations. 
  • The wider high performance service provider network consists of government agencies, universities, and private sector businesses.
  • Like Australia, the JSC employs a targeted approach to high performance sports investment (a high profile example of this approach resulted in multi-medal success with the inaugural appearance of women’s judo at the 2004 Athens Games).
  • Athlete financial assistance is administered by the JSC and JOC, and is allocated on a merit basis.
  • There is a high level of investment in sports sciences and research with the JISS as the dedicated agency directing this effort.
  • There is a very strong and institutionalised school sport system at the grassroots levels.
  • Japan shares a similar time zone (2 or 3 hours behind Australia).

 Miscellaneous information resources

Please note - End of secure web page section


Further resources and reading

Websites

Resources

Articles

  • Japan by M. Kurosu In Comparative sport development : systems, participation and public policy. ed. K. Petry and K. Hallmann, New York, Springer, 2013 , 193-210
  • Japan by M.Y. Yamamato, In Comparative elite sport development ed. B. Houlihan and M. Green. Amstwrdam, Elservier, 2008, 53-82

Videos

 



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