Table Speech

Finishing the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM South Africa

September 8, 2010

Mr. Kohzo Tashima
Vice President and General Secretary,
Japan Football Association

 Activities of the Japan Football Association (JFA) are based on the “JFA Declaration, 2005” proclaimed by the then President, Mr. Saburo Kawabuchi, during the halftime of the Emperor’s Cup held on January 1st, 2005. It says, “Through football, we realize the full benefits that sports can bring to our lives - the soundness of our bodies, the expansion of our minds, and the enrichment of our societies.”

 The spirit underlying this declaration is common to other sports as well as company mottoes. JFA members are resolved to base our activities on this guiding principles.

 The JFA Vision declares “By bringing the football experience closer, we bring sport itself close to all: from this affinity, we will create an environment rich in enjoyment and happiness. By strengthening the base of football in Japan, we will create world-class National Team that will move, inspire and encourage the people of Japan. We will always act in a spirit of fair play, fostering friendships among the people in Japan and beyond, to contribute to the betterment of the international community.”

 The JFA Pledge for 2015 aims that “By 2015, we will become one of the top 10 football associations of the world, and realize the following two objectives: 1. The Football Family of Japan, the fans with a true love for football, will number 5 million. 2. The Japan National Team will be ranked among the top 10 teams of the world.”

 As many as 1.3 million members are registered to JFA as of today, including 1 million players, 200,000 referees, 70,000 coaches, futsal players, as well as the Association executives and directors. University students and elementary school children enjoy football today, making the football family total as many as 3.5 million. We aim at making football more attractive and entertaining, thus increasing the football family to number 5 million.

 As I mentioned, our second goal is to make our National Team among the top 10 teams. The Japanese Team ranked No. 9 for this World Cup, by official counting, as penalty shoot-out is not counted as a defeat. Some of you might say we have already achieved the JFA Pledge for 2015. Yet, the Japanese Team is currently ranked No.32 in the world ranking, and there is much to do as we aim at securing a position somewhere between No. 10 and No. 20.

 JFA Pledge for 2050 further declares to make the Football Family of Japan “to number 10 million” by 2050, when the population of Japan is estimated to be about 70 million. We understand this is an ambitious target, yet we are determined to hand it down to the younger members of JFA. The second target is to “host the FIFA World Cup TM in Japan independently, and the Japan National Team will be the Champion.”

 We pursue our “JFA Declaration, 2005” under the slogan of “DREAM makes us strong.” This Declaration is our mission statement, which guides our daily activities. It is crucial for each member of the Association to cherish this guiding principle anew and take actions to realize the JFA Vision. JFA has 47 Prefectural Football Associations, and we need their understanding and cooperation to achieve our dream stated in the Declaration. I am convinced our earnest effort will win supports by many.

 Now, let me look back on history. It was in 1857 when the first football club was born in England, followed by the foundation of England Football Association in 1863. As you can see, we are trying to achieve just in 50 years what the British people achieved over 150 years.

 History teaches us many lessons. We always have to remind ourselves not to forget the basics when it comes to football. The Japanese tend to go for the new and the better. Yet, history proves that the Japanese teams have been successful when coaches pursued the basics. Dettmar Cramer instructed to “pass and goal”, “look around”, and “meet the ball,” which resulted in Japan winning the Bronze Medal for the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Hans Ooft, who was the coach from 1992, gave thorough instructions on “triangle” and “eye-contact.” Philippe Troussier also insisted on sticking to the basics, as did Takeshi Okada, who raised the Japan National Team ranking from No. 45 before the World Cup to rank No. 32 after it.

 I believe three factors brought good results to the Japan National Team for this World Cup. Firstly, the Team succeeded in securing 40 days to work on the team play, with focus on basic defense formation. Secondly, we were lucky enough to win the crucial first match against Cameroon and got confidence and encouragement. Thirdly, we all worked in excellent team spirit, from trainers, doctors, public relations staff, transportation staff, to chefs who all gave perfect logistical support to the 23 players.

 Based on our “JFA Declaration, 2005,” we are currently working on DREAM 2022 Project with the goal to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup TM. We learnt from the World Cup that sports have the power to change the people, the societies, the countries and regions. Football is a truly universal sport. We are resolved to work towards “hosting the World Cup that brings smiles to everyone in the 208 FIFA member countries and regions.”
(DVD with digest on the World Cup in South Africa was shown, with highlights of superb plays and cheering spectators from around the world.)