February 24 - Japan's athletes preparing for Tokyo 2020 are set to receive more money to get ready after the country's Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura revealed that the Government were considering increasing the amount it contributes to the programme.
Shimomura, who heads the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said the Government will effectively cover all the costs for athlete training programmes, exempting domestic sports associations, which currently shoulder a third of such expenses, from making financial contributions.
"Compared with other countries, Japan's sports budget is extremely small," he said.
"Some sports associations often give up on applying for state subsidies that would cover two-thirds of necessary expenses for training programmes as they cannot provide the remaining third."
Shimomura revealed the Government is currently working on introducing new temporary legislation to cover all athlete training costs with state subsidies in the six-year period through 2020.
Seiko Hashimoto, who is in charge of athlete development for the Japanese Olympic Committee, welcomed the Government's move.
She said it was "good news" as the JOC has requested such financial support.
Hashimoto had been Chef de Mission of Japan's team at Sochi 2014 where they won eight medals, including one gold, their best performance in a Winter Olympics outside Japan since Lillehammer in 1994.
At London 2012 Japan finished 11th overall with a total of 38 medals, including seven gold with the victory of boxer Ryōta Murata one of the highlights.
Japan's best-ever performance in a Summer Games came the last occasion Tokyo hosted the event, in 1964.
Then they finished third overall with a total of 29 medals, including 16 gold.
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