The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center has been launched to help Japan's athletes prepare for Tokyo 2020 ©The Nippon Foundation

A donation of ¥10 million (£520,000/$810,000/€730,000) has been made to launch The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, a new initiative designed to try to ensure that Japan's athletes are successful at Tokyo 2020. 

The money is being provided by The Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit grant-making organisation created in 1962 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa, a businessman and politician.

The Support Center will be chaired by Yasushi Yamawaki, President of the Japanese Paralympic Committee. 

Yoshirō Mori, the former Japanese Prime Minister, who is now President of Tokyo 2020, will be the supreme advisor, while Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Yoichi Masuzoe, the Governor of Tokyo, will also have leading roles. 

The Support Center will bring together a wide range of advisors, presenting an All-Japan team for hosting a successful Paralympics, it has been promised.

Tokyo will be the first city to host the Paralympics twice when it stages them in 2020, having previously held them in 1964. 

Japan made its Paralympic debut at that event and has appeared in every Games since.

At London 2012 they won a total of only 16 medals, including five gold, their worst performance since Heidelberg in 1972.

Their overall ranking of 24th was their lowest ever. 

Japan's performance at London 2012 was their worst in the Paralympics for 40 years
Japan's performance at London 2012 was their worst in the Paralympics for 40 years ©Getty Images

The performance led to a change how Japan's Paralympic athletes are funded.

They were previously governed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, but last year primary jurisdiction was transferred to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The Support Center will aim to create an environment where athletes can concentrate on their sports, train qualified volunteers for Paralympics, raise public awareness of the Games and conduct academic research.

It will also consider supporting Para-sport in developing countries, it was revealed at a press conference to launch the initiative. 

Alongside Mori and Masuzoe, Sports and Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura also attended the event. 

This is the second initiative linked to the Paralympic Games launched by The Nippon Foundation.

Last year they established The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Research Group to study a range of issues related to what shape the Paralympics should take, from a private-sector perspective, with the aim of releasing a set of recommendations in the spring of 2016.

Related stories
June 2015:
 Dentsu appointed to lead Paralympic marketing drive for Tokyo 2020
June 2015: IPC reaches agreement with Tokyo 2020 for delivery of Academy Excellence Programme
May 2015: Tokyo 2020 hold ceremony to celebrate 50th anniversary of Japanese Para-Sports Association
March 2015: Japanese Government hold workshop to promote Para-sport and athlete development
November 2014: Tokyo 2020 will change social perception towards impairment, claims Japanese Paralympic chief