The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, has reinstated his support for the development of judo in Nigeria.
The Ambassador said during a meeting with the Board of Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) led by its newly elected President, Dr. Musa Oshodi that one of his assignments in Nigeria is to promote sports diplomacy, adding that Judo, which had its birthplace from Japan, is one of the sports the Embassy would be willing to partner with and see to its popularity in Nigeria.
The Ambassador said: “It is very important for the children to start Judo. I will like to first bring some judo uniforms from Japan,” he said.
The Ambassador disclosed that he would facilitate the importation of judo uniforms to the country after discussing with some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) back home in Japan.
“I have met with some NGOs. Mr Yakatisha was replaced with Mr Yakauwen. About the Tatamimat I have spoken with the key importer of most Japanese items if he can help include the Tatanimart along with other things they will be importing. I understood that the NGO at the moment doesn’t have enough in stocks because of the Coronavirus, but hopefully, more will be available.
“I am willing to participate in national competitions and to give a speech from the beginning and to present the winner with the black belt. I will order the belts once I go back to Japan,” he said.
On sponsorship, the Ambassador disclosed that though most companies in Japan are facing difficulty in making a profit due to COVID-19 problems, he would talk to some NGOs in Japan to make donations for immediate support for the game in the country.
Ambassador Kazuyoshi revealed the plan of the Japanese Embassy in Nigeria to facilitate the construction of the Judo Complex in the country. According to him, “Japan also has fundings to construct judo complex (Dojo) in the country, I will speak with my colleague to see if we can send a proposal across.”
The Ambassador, who had once captained the Japanese Police Judo Team 55 years ago told his guests that he would love to see the involvement of the Nigerian government in the promotion and development of Judo in the country, saying “promoting judo is not just for children, but also to the police officers as this will make the sport popular across the country.”
President of Nigeria Judo Federation, Dr. Oshodi had earlier told the Ambassador how happy he and his Board members were to visit the Japanese Embassy to discuss Judo.
“We are here to meet the originators of the sport to seek her blessing before carrying on with our laudable activities to change the fortunes of Judo in the country, as we need the support of Japanese companies in Nigeria to take this game to the next level.”
According to Oshodi, “with the development we are looking forward to, the culture and values of Japan will be promoted through the game.
“One of the reasons I want to encourage the culture is to promote more software’s that will ensure the promotion of discipline, punctuality and many of those common things that will contribute to the development of the country in the future.,” he said.
Other members of the delegation of the Board of NJF that met with the Japanese Ambassador in Abuja werevice-president of the federation, Mrs Loveth Howell and the chairman of the Lagos State Judo Association, Mr. Sheriff Hammed.