Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
First of all, I would like to start my message by expressing my appreciation to all of you for your warm support for our organization. The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, and left 400,000 buildings partially or totally damaged, and more than 18,000 people dead or missing. 4 years have passed since this disaster, which seem to have passed so fast, but at the same time, also felt so long. The devastated areas have gone through many difficult situations and hardships, to reconstruct their lives after the disaster. Our hearts are with all of those who have suffered from this earthquake, including the 230,000 people who still live in evacuation shelters, and we strongly hope to move forward together towards recovery. I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my sincere condolences to those who have lost their lives, and to those who have suffered from this disaster.
As for WKO, we are planning a grand budo festival, the 11th World Championship, on October 31st & November 1st, 2015. The preparation work has started, and high level selection tournaments are being held in various countries and regions around the world. In Japan, the final selection for the Japan National Team will be made based on the results of the 2nd All Japan Fullcontact Karate Championship that will be held in May. I wish for the competitors around the world to make full use of each moment of each day in your training, so that you will be fully prepared when you step on the glorious stage to decide the world’s No. 1 in Karate. We will do our best to prepare a grand stage for the competitors, as a sign of respect to their hard effort and training. I wish you all the best in your preparation for the big event. The previous tournament was held in 2011, the year the above-mentioned earthquake struck, and I will never forget the warm friendship from our friends worldwide, who all flew over to help and support Japan, which was in the middle of its strong stand to recover from the earthquake. The competitors were also touched by this warm support, and displayed fantastic spirit and technique, as seen in the dramatic victory of Tsukamoto and Shoguchi. Thank you all for your kindness. With this year being 4 years after the disaster, I hope everyone will see the courage and footsteps of Japan towards strong recovery.
In Japan, the Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization was established in 2013, with the goal to establish Full Contact Karate as a competition category, to increase social recognition, and to form a world organization. The WKO Japan Region is affiliated to this organization, and while recognizing the need to manage and organize as the promoter, we are steadily carrying out various activities with our many comrades. The establishment of an organization to unify the competition in the mother country of Karate had effects all over the world, and we are receiving news of similar national federations being established in various countries. We will continue our movement forward, towards the inclusion of Full Contact Karate in the Olympic Games, which we aim to realize as a result of such international developments.
As you are all aware, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan as the host nation will propose additional events to the IOC in September 2015, and the categories and events are to be finalized in August 2016 based on such proposal. We as WKO, will increase the international value of Full Contact Karate, while not losing sight of its meaning of existence, and we would like to further promote our activities for the Olympic Games in coordination with the related parties, for the future of the children practicing Full Contact Karate all over the world.