Sport for Tomorrow and Japan’s global health initiative

Sport for Tomorrow and Japan’s global health initiative

Dr. Yuichi Ando, Chairman, Institute of Global Medical Sports Science.

Time for sport and health is becoming rare in Japan. Adults are working longer hours and children spend more time than ever in school. On top of that, adults and children alike are spending more time entertaining themselves with electronics or being indoors. The government of Japan wants to see this change and is spreading word of the importance of sports and health.


From now until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese government, along with a consortium of Non-Government Organizations, will be running the Sport for Tomorrow initiative. The goal of the initiative is to promote the benefits of playing sports and intercultural exchange. The initiative also entails the offering of courses in sports management to foreign students in Japan and anti-doping agency funding.

The Japanese government is not only promoting sport internationally, but domestically as well. Facing a rapidly aging population, promoting sport and exercise will be integral in maintaining the health of Japanese citizens as they get older.

The Japanese government is not only promoting sport internationally, but domestically as well. Facing a rapidly aging population, promoting sport and exercise will be integral in maintaining the health of Japanese citizens as they get older. For a long time, it has not been uncommon to see coordinated stretch and exercise routines being done by employees in suits first thing in the morning, before starting a long shift. The exercise is important because the amount of hours many Japanese employees work and their resulting stress have been found to have incredibly negative effects on the employee’s mental and physical health. According to a recent Japanese government white paper, around 22.7% of Japanese companies have employees working about 50 hours a week or more and this is an overwork average that exceeds any other developed nation’s. The Japanese government has recognized this issue and is working to promote less work hours and more holidays, plus getting workers to be active and engage in sports to increase health and reduce stress.

According to a recent Japanese government white paper, around 22.7% of Japanese companies have employees working about 50 hours a week or more and this is an overwork average that exceeds any other developed nations.
Office Workers Doing Morning Exercise in Japan. / Credits: AFP.
Office Workers Doing Morning Exercise in Japan. / Credits: AFP.

Thanks to coordinated promotional efforts by the Japanese government, it is now becoming common to see groups of elders, out exercising together in public first thing in the morning. It is believed that the promotion of exercise in the workplace and in retirement has helped to contribute to the life longevity that many Japanese attain.

Renowned Dr. Yuichi Ando of the Institute of Global Medical Sports Science agrees to the importance of spreading awareness of health, sports, and maintaining an active society. “The issue, basically, is to keep the aging population healthy. This is a challenge, how to keep people healthy?” he said. Dr. Ando also believes that if people “really understand the sportsman ship or the value of sports, it will make their ability higher and also you can respect others that will make a community healthier”. Essentially, teaching people to play sports and utilize sportsmanship will help build healthy communities.

The Sport for Tomorrow initiative will only run until the 2020 Olympics, but due to the initiative, we may see more nations taking stronger stances to promote sport and exercise. If promoted properly, more people globally may live longer, healthier lives.


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