Ms. Yuriko Koike, President of Japan Weightlifting Association (JWA), former Minister of Defense and former Minister of Environment, visited Houston from November 17 to 23, 2015.
On November 17, Ms. Koike gave a lecture on “Reviving Japan’s Dynamism through Abenomics” at Asia Society Texas Center. After an introduction by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka, she explained several points: The Japanese economy is achieving strong recovery; Japan is now making efforts to create “a society in which women shine”; and Japan aims to secure clean and economical energy on environmental front. Some audience questions focused on the progress of the Government regulation reform policy.
On November 18, Ms. Koike and Mr. Tsutomu Tomioka, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology attended a reception hosted by the Consul General Nozomu Takaoka and Ms. Donna Cole, former president of Japan America Society of Houston. Other invitees were leading members of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWA), the Japanese Weightlifting Association (JWA) and representatives of national weightlifting organizations from all over the world. The reception was held on the occasion of the IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Houston. The Japanese national weightlifting team joined the event as well. This reception was an opportunity for Japan to promote international cooperation and exchange through sports in the time leading up to hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In his speech at the beginning of the reception, Consul General Takaoka introduced Ms. Koike who has a varied background as a newscaster, an influential politician, and a close friend of the Miyake family, of Japanese weightlifting fame. Consul General also noted that Ms. Koike’s efforts to make Japan a global force in the world of weightlifting are strongly supported by the Japanese Government and will add to the overall success of Tokyo 2020. (link)
Next, Ms. Koike and Mr. Tomioka gave remarks. Ms. Koike thanked representatives of IWF and weightlifting associates for their attendance. She also spoke of her plan to host more sports activities such as the Asian Youth and Junior Championships in 2016 and the IWF Junior World Championships in 2019, and is currently making an effort to develop Japan’s ability to manage international competitions in preparation for the Olympics.
Mr. Tomioka praised Ms. Koike’s vast experience as former Minister of Defense and Minister of Environment, as well as her leadership skills. He also said that Ms. Koike will raise interest and participation in weightlifting by working closely with the IWF and other weightlifting associations. Notably, Mr. Tomioka also emphasized that Ms. Koike’s laudable efforts have the full support of the Japanese Government.
At the World Weightlifting Championships, the Japanese national weightlifting team made steady progress toward the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Their achievements include the success of Ms. Hiromi Miyake (48kg) who ranked 3rd, Ms. Mikiko Ando (58Kg) who ranked 8th, and Mr. Yoichi Itokazu (62kg) who ranked 9th.