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Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2017 kicks off in Japan

Japan is aiming to build 20 new stadia and arenas by 2025, delegates at the opening of the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific Conference and Exhibition (SAAP 2017) heard today.

Hundreds of delegates packed into the conference room at the Makuhari Messe conference centre in Chiba City, Japan to listen to speeches from some of the country’s leading sports officials.

The sports venue business is a growth industry in Japan, which is set to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 and the Asian Games in 2026.

Daichi Suzuki, former Olympic gold medallist swimming champion and now Commisioner of the Japan Sports Agency, said:

We came to realise that sport is an industry that can generate revenue and we want to achieve 15 trillion yen ($1.3 billion) by 2025.

We want to create 20 additional stadia and arenas by 2025. The size and scope of each of them is different and so we can’t look at them as one category. Stadia are large in size and expensive, while multipurpose arenas can be used for things other than sport.

He said that stadia and arenas could take on the role of shelters following natural disasters and national emergencies.

Hiroshi Hase, Member of the House of Representatives, said the new Olympic Stadium should become a focal point for sports and activities following the 2020 Games. He said:

The area around the new Olympic Stadium has been designated as a special district with commercial facilities, hotels and other related facilities. People gather there for sports but we can also introduce other activities.

He said revenue generated from the facilities around the Olympic Park should be re-invested back into the community.

Meanwhile, Saburou Kawabuchi, President of the Alliance of Japan Top Leagues, gave an impassioned speech in which he said the country needed more and improved sports venues to be built and that Japan should learn lessons from the US and Europe. He said:

Rather than just maintaining the status quo we should be more ambitious, otherwise we can’t achieve higher goals.

Image: From L to R, Neil Levett, Event Director Hemming Group, Saburou Kawabuchi, Daichi Suzuki, Hiroshi Hase