TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program Delegation Head to the United States
After three months of preparation, ten TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program delegates met for the first time in person on February 25 at the Japan National Stadium, completed in 2019 and designed to evoke” strength, simplicity, and grace,” set the stage for the trip.
They departed for the United States the next day, on February 26, to learn about the differences between the sports business in America and Japan. They will meet with leaders and decision-makers who manage facilities such as the iconic LA Memorial Coliseum, ‘the state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium that re-imagines the fan experience, and the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Upon their return, they will present their findings and future vision to the program stakeholders and special guests at the Roppongi Hills Club.
Two accomplished Japanese professors with extensive experience in the sports field serve as mentors. Dr. Munehiko Harada is Osaka University of Health and Sports Sciences’ President and Chairman of the Japan Sports Tourism Alliance. He proactively builds new frontiers for Sports in Japan. Dr. Daichi Oshimi is an Associate Professor at the School of Physical Education of Tokai University and is the mentor traveling with the delegation. His area of expertise is in the socio-economic aspects of sports. His grant-supported research focuses on the impacts and leveraging of various-sized sports events and their meaning for host communities.
TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program goals support the white paper issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) stating, “Japan aims to triple the size of its sports business sector to 15 trillion yen by 2025.”
The United States is the leader in the sports industry and has monetized athletics to expand into entertainment. Athletes are known for their talents in the field of play and have endorsement deals for various consumer products. And not all products are sports-related, and they overlap in music and movies. On and beyond the playing field, the ever-expanding business of sports is an area for economic growth and collaboration for the two nations.
“We hope that these outstanding delegates return to Japan inspired to seek positions and careers that ultimately raise the bar of the sports industry, serving further to strengthen the bond between the United States and Japan,” said Shannon Dorsey, Culture and Sports Attaché, Public Affairs Section – U.S. Embassy Tokyo.
“Today we open a new window of endless opportunities for these next-generation Japanese leaders fulfilling a need for new leaders in Japan who will direct sports growth and development in responsible and sustainable ways,” said Junko Tsuda, Executive Director (Japan) – U.S.-Japan Council. “We also sincerely thank the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo for their leadership and sponsorship of this exciting new program.”
The LA84 Foundation, a nationally recognized leader supporting youth sports programs and public education about the role of sports in positive youth development, is the program’s partner in Los Angeles. LeadOff Sports, a professional sports agency headquartered in Manhattan, is the partner in New York City.
The two-week trip to America ends with a collaborative event hosted by the Japan Society and U.S.-Japan Council, the former premier organization that connects American and Japanese people, cultures, and societies through a global lens.