Interview with Takumi Kawahara, Sport for Tomorrow ( Part II)

Full Text Sharing

In terms of Sport and Development component, I am asking you a very tough question. Would you be able to share one or two best practices?

In order to promote the movement of SFT in Japan and to promote the activities of consortium members, Japan Sports Agency, a central government agency, has provided a commendation letter from the Commissioner for selected consortium members that carried out outstanding projects since 2017.


Other than government funded projects are eligible. Four projects implemented by seven organizations in 2017 and five projects implemented by seven organizations in 2018 received the commendation letters.


According to the commendation policy, the themes related to the Sport and Development component are "a world that respects diversity", "a world that is sustainable and able to withstand adversity", and "a world that is clean and fair".

The following two projects are examples and uploaded to SFT website among them. Please see for more information about the projects.
・Educational support for the South Sudan refugee settlement in northern Uganda(AAR Japan)


・Nature & Sport Training Camps 2017(GSA)


In terms of adaptive sports, what are your achievements so far?


I will try first to describe the whole picture of para-sport and sports for people with an impartment under SFT.


While SFT is movement, it has several functions for this area:

(1) supporting the spread of para-sport and increasing number of participants to support Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 from the side,

(2) trying to enable people with an impairment to participate in sports as realizing an inclusive society, and

(3) trying to change society and consciousness of people.

 In the case of  point 2, dissemination of balloon volleyball and table tennis volleyball in South America is an example which makes more people participate in sports to create an inclusive society.


Regarding point  3, Paralympic Education Teaching Material “I 'm Possible” was developed as IPC official recognition materials. While it is not under SFT, this material has been distributed into all primary and secondary schools throughout Japan. This is to contribute to changing consciousness of people.


Will you roll out some special programs for the Paralympics Games in Tokyo?

Related to (1), NSSU is conducting a program to increase the number of participants from countries and regions that have not been able to participate in the Paralympic Games so far with the support of the Japanese government.


I saw one football and baseball clinic here in Kathmandu in the last two years, I was wondering about the follow up to these trainings. I guess one of the toughest things is to think long term, ensuring continuity and ownership of local stakeholders. What are your thoughts? How can we better leverage the strong Japan ‘System’ present in many developing countries? After in a county like Nepal and this can be said also for the majority of countries around the world, especially in the South, you have a strong diplomatic presence, you have JICA offices and JICA volunteers and a network of not for profits. I see a big potential here.

Under SFT, I recognize that there are a lot of activities like a clinic to convey a fun of sport. When I was a child I also joined the soccer clinic, and I still remember what I enjoyed very much with a huge amount of joy.

However, I really understand that ownership and sustainability are very important in international cooperation, not limited to sports. In order to develop sports in each country and to enrich and solve social issues through sports, it is necessary to strengthen the institutions, organizations, to improve the skills of coaches as well as instructors and judges, and to improve the curriculum in school physical education. We are facing various issues to overcome. I think a key point is that these issues need to be addressed by the cooperation among multiple organizations.

Strengths differ for Japanese organizations and experts so that various organizations and experts should work together. This leads to strengthening local ownership and sustainability.

Furthermore, in order to build good relations with local counterparts, I think it is important to take a long period. Local counterparts understand Japan's good points and weaknesses as well.  

Realistically, there are not so many cases that Japanese experts stay on site for a long time. Under such circumstances, JICA, which has offices in many countries, already has an important role. JICA is a member of the steering committee of SFT Consortium. There have been many cases in which SFT Consortium organizations carried out projects collaborating with the JICA offices in many counties. However, there will still room for further collaboration.


Have you ever considered any on line interactions between experts in Japan and stakeholders in a third country? For example, the Embassy of Japan could host the event, you have some lecturers based in Japan. You have some guests in the site of the physical event and a low cost sharing can happen.

In some projects and seminars, we have already introduced online. For example, NSSU - ICCU Coach Developer Program is utilizing online to communicate participants for following up after training in Japan. Besides, there are some cases that Japanese experts who are in the field in overseas may participate in by online.

However, I think there are not so common practice. I assume many Japanese think that it is important to visit and have a look directly at the site in Japan or to directly teach by Japanese experts. Then, transfer of knowhow could be happen.

Still, I hope that ICT will be further utilized for remote communications. Actually, Japan is also composed of many islands. It is not limited to sports, ICT is important, especially for sharing information to rural areas and remote islands.


Now what next? What will happen after organization Tokyo 2020 games? Would Sport For Tomorrow turned into an international foundation to keep supporting sports initiative in the developing countries?

The shape of the current SFT ends in 2020. The Japanese government is appreciating the network made by the SFT Consortium and outputs as well as outcomes by the SFT Consortium members. Also, the secretariat has received comments from the government that it would a shame to the end in 2020 and that a mechanism to maintain this network should be created even after 2020.

Also, the secretariat is now trying to communicate to SFT consortium members the idea of contributing to SDGs through sport.

Under such circumstances, at this time, it is not yet seen what will be taken after 2020. Discussion has just begun. I personally hope the consortium network will continue in whatever form.


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.