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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 15 - 21  > Make new agency useful in improving sports environment: JCP Miyamoto
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2015 April 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Make new agency useful in improving sports environment: JCP Miyamoto

April 18, 2015
The House of Representatives Committee on Education and Culture at its meeting on April 17 unanimously passed a bill to establish a new agency, to be called the sports agency, to promote sports-related policies.

Prior to the vote in the meeting, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Miyamoto Takeshi stressed that the new agency should play a role in guaranteeing people their right to participate in sports as the Basic Act on Sport stipulates. Currently, both national and local governments neglect their responsibility set by the law, Miyamoto criticized.

The Basic Act on Sport was enacted in 2011 with the unanimous approval of the Diet. The law stipulates that the practice of sports is a fundamental human right and requires both the national and local governments to build and maintain sports facilities.

The central government in 1972 launched a program to provide to local governments subsidies that cover one-third of the costs related to the construction of sports facilities. With this program, the number of public sports facilities increased from 10,000 in 1969 to 65,000 in 1999.

The state, however, has backtracked on its sports policies. It reduced its budget for the program from 11.8 billion yen in 1982 to one billion yen in 2005. Furthermore, in 2014, it used only 30 million yen to support municipalities in building public sports facilities. In accordance with a decline in government spending on sports, the number of public sports facilities decreased by 12,000 in the past 12 years.

Hitotsubashi University professor Ozaki Masataka, an expert in community sports, said, “Success in promotion of community sports depends on the creation of an environment in which people can readily enjoy physical exercise in everyday life. Governments at both the national and local levels should rethink their policies on community sports.”

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has decided to use 14.4 billion yen in tax revenues in fiscal 2015 for supporting sports which are included in the 2020 Olympics. The ministry, however, will spend only 2.4 billion yen for providing places where people can play sports.

Past related articles:
> Japan’s abysmal sports policy - Part II [July 15 and 17, 2013]
> Japan’s abysmal sports policy - Part I [July 13 and 18, 2013]
> ‘Health and Sports Day’, reminder of the need to promote sports [October 8, 2012]
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