Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Thank you for your daily efforts for the further development of WKO in various countries around the world. I appreciate the continuing of training worldwide based on creative ideas during this prolonged COVID-19 crisis, where we have been facing the reality of coexisting with many limits and restrictions.
In Japan, the 6th All Japan Fullcontact Karate Championship, with the entry of approximately 400 competitors, was held on May 29-30 at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Due to the state of emergency declared by the government and additional restrictions by the municipality, various infection prevention measures were carried out at the tournament. I was able to realize again, that competitors are in need of competitions. Although the WKO Japan Region competitors accounted for approximately half of the total participants in the tournament, as a result of the friendly rivalry between the competitors of various Full Contact Karate groups, many were able to become prizewinners in the event. The prizewinners, and all competitors, did their very best. The fact that you challenged yourself to participate in this competition is important and special.
After more than a quarter of a century since the death of Sosai Oyama, the Full Contact Karate world, which had divided and split into many styles and factions, has gradually gathered to the unified competition, and while maintaining our individuality, we have entered a new age of diversity, where the existence of groups is recognized and accepted by each other. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics just around the corner, as Full Contact Karate, I believe that we were able to demonstrate our existence, due to the strong efforts of the competitors and the passion of the coaches and instructors at the recent tournament.
On the other hand, for the 1st WFKO World Championship, we did our best to pursue the possibility of organizing it in September, but the negotiation process with the related agencies and ministries was more difficult than expected. It is with deep regret that we could not realize the dreams and expectations of the selected competitors around the world, but we will endure and adjust our plans in order to realize it next year. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will be organized by welcoming athletes from all over the world in this COVID-19 crisis, will continue its movement forward, due to the preparation work by the related people, and their efforts to secure understanding from various parties, which are likely beyond our imagination. As advocated by the organizing committee, I have high expectations for it to be organized in a safe and secure manner, and for it to be a great opportunity and trigger for reviving sports events in the future.
In Europe, the long-awaited European Championship will be held on June 26-27. I wish to express my respect to the host country Georgia (Country Representative Irakli Dolaberidze) and their efforts to organize the event, under the guidance and leadership of Shihan Koen Scharrenberg, the representative of the Europe Region, and I will be looking forward to the great battles by the competitors. For the participants, please have a sense of appreciation towards the organizers and their efforts to organize the event, including the work that they put in behind the scenes, and a sense of happiness and satisfaction towards the opportunity to participate in a competition.
Although I imagine that the COVID-19 situation can differ around the world, with the belief that this endurance and patience will one day bear fruit, let us continue to carry out our daily activities. Lastly, the COVID-19 crisis is becoming a long-term battle, but please take good care of your health. I am very much looking forward to seeing you again.