JOC Wants all National Sports Teams to be Called ‘Team Japan’

The Japanese Olympic Committee will launch the “Team Japan” initiative this year to strengthen the solidarity of national sports federations and secure financial resources, according to sources close to the committee. The JOC plans to propose that the name of all national teams representing Japan at sports events be changed to Team Japan, regardless of the scale of the event.

Since the JOC has been working closely with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games’ organizing committee to sponsor the event starting in July, the new initiative will start from the year of the Beijing Winter Games in 2022 and cover three years through 2024. The JOC’s endeavors this year will include asking sponsors for their views and coordinating with national federations regarding the project.

The JOC plans to allow sponsors the use of a new Team Japan logo, the existing JOC emblem and the portrait rights of athletes owned by the committee’s “symbol athlete” project. Development and sales of related products are also under consideration. To help boost financial resources, the JOC will allow sponsors to advertise at events held by the federations if they wish to do so, and will share the revenue with the federations.

The JOC has also defined as “elite groups competing globally” teams representing Japan at general sports events, such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as those organized by national federations. The committee will encourage the federations to use the new name, Team Japan, and the new common logo so that it will be as widely recognized as the Hinomaru national flag.

The JOC will also discuss further how to select “symbol athletes,” who are chosen from first-rate competitors as Games representatives to be part of the event’s promotion and marketing. The JOC intends to put greater value on the criterion of how respectable an athlete is as a person when selecting new symbol athletes, emphasizing their appeal as role models even more than their competitiveness.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan’s sports industry has seen a sharp decline in revenue from admission fees and athlete registration fees, raising concerns about operations after the Games.