Tokyo 2020 has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Agitos Foundation and the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC), under which the three organisations will cooperate with the aim of developing human resources and expertise in the field of Paralympic sports.
It is intended that this will become one of the legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
During the build-up to the Games, Tokyo 2020, the Agitos Foundation and the JPC have committed to sharing knowledge and expertise from more advanced sporting nations, including Japan, among the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of other countries, particularly those in Asia.
The partnership also aims to help promote the Paralympic Movement globally via a coordinated programme of human resource development.
Working with various stakeholders, Tokyo 2020 plans to adopt and implement a similar programme to the "Road to The Games" project conducted by the Agitos Foundation at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Under what will be known as the "Road to Tokyo 2020" programme, a range of international sport promotions – legacies of past Games – will be organised in conjunction with events forming part of the Japanese Government’s "Sport for Tomorrow" initiative.
With the support of that initiative, "Road to Tokyo 2020" will incorporate a wide range of activities and events.
Among the partnership’s objectives are enhancing the administrative capacities and standardising the technical knowledge of NPCs across the world with regard to Paralympic sports, and improving the operation and structures of the NPCs and national federations around the globe, developing coaches' expertise and improving Para athletes' performance through training.
The others are elevating the technical knowledge of coaches and educating athletes to raise the bar of the Paralympic Movement, and promoting awareness of the Paralympic Movement and promoting the achievements and stories of the world’s greatest Para athletes.
The partnership also plans to collaborate on a number of activities.
The Agitos Foundation will invite experts from international sport organisations to participate in seminars offering training on the coaching of Paralympic sports and on sports management, while a training camp will also be organised.
Additionally, programmes will be created to train and develop human resource in the field of Paralympic sports via the "Sport for Tomorrow" programme, an international effort led by the Japanese Government.
"The 'Road to the Games' programme has become one of the most important sporting legacies of the Paralympic Games," said International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons.
"It will have a significant impact on the development of the Paralympic Movement, especially in Asia, providing opportunities for National Paralympic Committees, athletes and coaches."
Rita van Driel, chair of the Agitos Foundation Executive Committee, said: "Knowledge-sharing is one of the most important tools to strengthen the Paralympic Movement, providing valuable lessons from successful experiences and raising awareness of our values.
"I would like to thank the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and NPC Japan for their support to such an important project in partnership with the Agitos Foundation."
The "Road to the Games" programme comprises a systematic approach to human resource development, driven by the Agitos Foundation, and is aimed at strengthening the legacy of major sporting events and achieving sustainable growth in the Paralympic Movement across the world.
It offers a series of workshops to improve the training and know-how of officials, coaches, classifiers, managers and athletes.
Since its commencement in 2013, more than 30 workshops involving more than 500 participants – including sport managers, national coaches, national classifiers and athletes – have taken place.
"It gives me great pleasure to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding for the 'Road to Tokyo 2020' programme," JPC chairman Mitsunori Torihara said.
"Leveraging the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we will do our best to further develop the Paralympic Movement by increasing the number of coaches and supporting the training of athletes in other countries by sharing our knowledge through international exchange and by developing human resources in the field of Paralympic sports in Japan.
"This project will allow us to create and strengthen relationships with those who are active in the Paralympic Movement in other countries.
"It will also enable us to improve the sports environment for people with an impairment in Japan, and help realise a more vibrant inclusive society."
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō added: "Since our establishment, our aim has been to help realise a more inclusive society via the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
"We acknowledge the importance of developing human resources in the field of Paralympic sports, including athletes and coaches, for the development of the Paralympic Movement.
"We are delighted to sign an MoU and kick off these initiatives, which we believe will become legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
"We believe that the programme will lead to an increase in the number of people with relevant skills and to an expansion of the range of Paralympic sports.
"Leveraging the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we will contribute to the promotion of the Paralympic Movement with the support of our partners and, hopefully, progress towards the realisation of a more inclusive society."
The "Sport for Tomorrow" programme is an international-contribution-through-sport initiative led by the Japanese Government and jointly implemented by public and private sectors, which will promote sport to more than 10 million people in over 100 nations until 2020.
It aims to deliver the values of sport and promote the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to people of all generations worldwide.