Japan making progress to lift FIBA ban

2024 Japan Task Force

On November 25th, 2014, FIBA, basketball’s governing body, suspended the Japanese Basketball Association from all international activities. The suspension came after countless warnings from FIBA to Japan about changing the structure of its national basketball leagues. Japan has two major basketball leagues (the NBL and the BJ-League). FIBA demanded Japan to merge the two leagues but nothing was done.

Three months later, the JBA has finally come up with a plan that would lift the FIBA ban and create a sustainable basketball program for the next decade. They call it the Japan 2024 Task Force. Last week, at a news conference inside a Tokyo hotel, the Japan 2024 Task Force made its first public appearance. They introduced its members, took questions from the media, and laid out the goals for the short and long future of Japanese basketball.

What is the Japan 2024 Task Force?

It’s a panel of ten people working towards a vision of having a united and vibrant basketball community, thriving for success in Japan. It is also to adhere to a mission of making basketball the number one indoor sport in the country and ranking in the top three of all sports in Japan.

the Task Force will be charged with fulfilling four key objectives:

1. Restructuring the JBA and ensure it is fully and efficiently functional under FIBA’s General Statutes;

2. Bringing all top clubs under one pyramidal structure under the JBA and set up a sustainable and growing club competition system played with the Official Basketball Rules across the country;

3. Establishing a basic plan for the development of the game in Japan from school to elite in 5on5 and 3×3;

4. Providing the base for the concrete preparation of the country’s national teams leading into the 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.

Who are the members of the Japan 2024 Task Force?

The task force will be chaired by Mr. Saburo Kawabuchi, President of the Japan Football Association from 2002 to 2008 and former Chairman of the J-League, Japan’s national football league.

FIBA Executive Committee member, Mr. Ingo Weiss, will serve as co-chairman.

The other members of the task force are: Mr. Tsuyoshi Aoki, Vice-President and Secretary General of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC); Mr. Joichi Okazaki, Executive Managing Director of the Japan Sports Association; Mr. Tesuo Umeno, Acting Chairman of the JBA; Mr. Chikahiro Hayashi, General Manager of the Toshiba Brave Thunder club from the National Basketball League (NBL); Mr. Tatsuro Kimura, President and CEO of the Ryukyu Golden Kings club from the bj-league; Ms. Mikiko Hagiwara, head coach of the Waseda University’s women’s basketball team; Mr. Kioshi Nakamura, Executive Director of Dentsu Inc.; Mr. Masaki Sakaida, lawyer at Yotsuyabancho Law Office.

Why is it named Task Force 2024?

According to FIBA’s secretary general Patrick Baumann, “it’s not about solving one problem. this is to create a base for the next 10 years. It’s simply to make the people think long term.”

FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann

FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann – Photo by: fiba.com

Quotes from FIBA;

Patrick Baumann, secretary general of FIBA, says, “Basketball in Japan is a very popular sport amongst the young people. Imposing the sanction was therefore neither easy nor enjoyable. It is time for all clubs to regroup under one competition system, rather than continuing under the current damaging and unsustainable conflicting mode and for all schools to participate in a common effort of creating the next generation of talents for 2020 and beyond. We look forward to creating a new structure and we will make basketball successful in the future [here in Japan].

Ingo Weiss, FIBA Treasurer and as President of the German Basketball Federation (DBB), says, “We thought it was very important for the task force to be established by Japanese. All of the members are specialists in sports and business. Each one of us will make efforts in our own field [of expertise] to start up the new JBA. Japan is a great country, the country of the rising sun and we hope its basketball will get better there.”


With notes from The Japan Times and Fiba.com

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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