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  5. Study Group on Collaboration of Regional Areas and Sports Club Industry to be Inaugurated

Study Group on Collaboration of Regional Areas and Sports Club Industry to be Inaugurated

- Effort for providing opportunities to discuss the potential of sustainable sports communities and challenges in sports clubs forming a new basis for the regional economies -

October 20, 2020

School club activities and regional sports clubs have played the main roles in providing elementary, junior-high and high school students in Japan with conventional sports facilities, and these environments have mainly been led by the volunteer efforts of teachers and regional residents. However, a variety of challenges facing these environments have come to light, as seen in the lack in the number of children necessary to continue school-run club activities, a growing necessity for change in the working styles of teachers and the uneven quality of instruction by volunteers who are now the main instructors.

Japan-wide growth of not only these sports facilities mainly operated by volunteers, but also a new type of sports club industry which provides as a "paid service” quality instruction, facilities and communities may contribute, together withthe development of stadiums and arenas, to synergistically improving sports facilities in which all generations will be able to practice a variety of sports throughout their lifetime, and this is expected to create a core of new growth for regional economies.

Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to inaugurate a study group. The study group will identify challenges in ideal approaches to a sustainable sports industry, including the effort of “integrated regional sports clubs,” which the government has been promoting, and generate solutions to such challenges.

1. Purpose and background

School club activities and regional sports clubs have played the main roles in providing elementary, junior-high and high school students in Japan with conventional sports facilities, and these environments have mainly been led by the volunteer efforts of teachers and regional residents. However, a variety of challenges facing these environments have come to light, as seen in the lack in the number of children necessary to continue school-run club activities, a growing necessity for change in the working styles of teachers and the uneven quality of instruction by volunteers who are now the main instructors.

Japan-wide growth of not only sports environments mainly operated by volunteers but also a new type of sports club industry which provides as a “paid service” quality instruction, facilities and communities may contribute, together with the development of stadiums and arenas, to improving sports facilities in which all generations will be able to practice a variety of sports throughout their lifetime, and this may pave the way for new growth of regional economies placing the sports club industry at the core. Moreover, Japan-wide growth of the sports industry may also facilitate development of sports facilities in which people can enjoy sports for their entire lives, and this may lead to solutions to societal challenges, e.g., improving the health conditions of regional residents.

Upholding the decades-long concept “regional-based, autonomous and promising sports clubs,” some sports clubs in regional areas have succeeded in developing quality sports environments. However, these successful case examples are not the predominant cases across Japan.

Against this backdrop, METI inaugurated a study group in cooperation with the Japan Sports Agency and other related organizations as participants. The study group will identify challenges in ideal approaches to a sustainable sports industry, including the initiative of “integrated regional sports clubs,” which the government has been promoting, and develop future directions of measures for addressing such challenges.

2. Goals of the study group (future directions of discussions as of today)

  1. The sports club industry should participate in efforts to implement designated management of regional school or public facilities for physical exercise and management of investments in renovation of such facilities, thereby improving facilities in terms of quality and operating rate and provide quality sports environments to all generations of regional residents regardless of age. The study group will identify challenges facing these efforts and measures for overcoming such challenges. 

  2. The study group will also identify challenges in developing an environment in which well-trained instructors are able to provide instruction to athletes for compensation that is commensurate to their ability. In particular, it will focus on retired athletes who are starting a fresh career and teachers who engage in sports instruction as a second job. 

  3. Expecting that more and more people may encourage their children to take up a sport as a type of “personal development,” the study group will identify necessary measures in avoiding, to the extent possible, creating inequalities of opportunity based on differences in household income.

  4. Furthermore, it will identify issues to be discussed that will allow the sports club industry to improve its growth potential and contribute to the health and fulfillment of regional residents as the core of regional communities and regional economies.

3. List of study group members, etc.

4. Future schedule

The study group will hold its first meeting according to the following schedule.
Date of the first meeting: October 21 (Wed.), 2020; from 15:30 to 17:30
Please note that the meetings will be closed to the public, but a summary of the minutes of the meetings will be made public on the METI website at a later date.

Note: The second and following meetings will be held around once a month.

Division in Charge

Service Industries Office, Service Affairs Policy Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group

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