The All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF)—through the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan—officially turned over 142 pieces of traditional Japanese tatami or ‘woven straw’ mats to the Philippine Judo Federation (PJF) in a ceremony held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Manila on February 8.
PJF President David Carter led the ceremonies attended by JICC Director Ken Nakamura and First Secretary Seiki Furudate on behalf of AJJF.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Carter discussed how sport ties have contributed to improving Japan-Philippines relations. Director Nakamura, for his part, expressed hope for further development of judo in the Philippines through the mats provided and highlighted the important role of sports in promoting international cooperation. Also present during the ceremony were Chairman William Ramirez, Commissioner Charles Maxey, and Executive Director Carlo Abarquez of the Philippine Sports Commission, PJF Secretary-General Luleo Panganiban, and PJF Head Coach Rolan Llamas.
The donation was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture; All Japan Judo Federation; Nihon Yusen; and Yusen Logistics, under the “Sport for Tomorrow” (SFT) Programme of the Japanese Government.
Launched in 2013, SFT is Japan’s international contribution programme towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. It aims to cultivate an appreciation of sport values across all ages and to promote the Olympic and Paralympic Movement to the world by: encouraging international cooperation and exchange through hosting sports events and initiating sport-related projects, such as the development of facilities, provision of sports equipment, dispatch of sports instructors and athletes, and support in the formulation of physical education curricula globally; nurturing sports talents via internationally-linked sport academies; and further strengthening international Anti-Doping Efforts.
Through the SFT Programme, Japan hopes to reach out to around 10 million people in over one hundred countries in the period leading to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.