Visit with Japanese Deaf Sports Federation in Tokyo

Dr. Ammons presents about Deaflympics
Dr. Ammons presents about Deaflympics
Princess Kiko signed to Dr. Ammons in American Sign Language
Princess Kiko signed to Dr. Ammons in American Sign Language

Dr. Donalda Ammons was invited by the Japanese Deaf Sport Federation (JDSF) for a 4 day official visit, to promote Deaflympics in Japan from 20 to 24 May.  JDSF President Hiroto Taguchi and Secretary General Dr. Yukata Osugi were on hand to give Dr. Ammons a very warm welcome to Tokyo.

On May 20, Dr. Ammons had the pleasure of meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Akishinomiya at her residence within the Imperial Palace grounds for little more than an hour.  Her Royal Highness Princess Akishinomiya is very popular among the Japanese citizens and is popularly called Princess Kiko. She is very interested in sign language and has been learning it for some years now.  She became an active supporter of Deaflympics since the Melbourne Games, when she first learned about it.

With Princess Kiko’s support, it was possible to hold a press conference to promote wider recognition of Deaflympics and to introduce 11 athletes who have been chosen to represent Japan at the 2007 Winter Deaflympics at the JAL City Hotel. It was largely attended by deaf and hearing people and TV media and newspaper journalists.

Much to Dr. Ammons’ surprise, just before the press conference began, Princess Kiko approached Dr. Ammons and signed to her in American Sign Language.  She wanted to tell Dr. Ammons how much she truly enjoyed meeting and talking with her the day before at her residence. Princess Kiko received a quick lesson in ASL from Dr. Osugi only ten minutes prior to her entrance in the banquet hall for the press conference.

Dr. Ammons was asked to give a 45 minute talk, titled “A Glimpse of Deaflympics”.  Click here for power point presentation.

During the conference, Dr. Ammons also met and discussed future directions of Deaflympics and deaf sports with Mr. Ando, President of Japanese Deaf Federation, Mr. Nakatani, Director General of the ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Mr. Nakamori, Secretary General of Japanese Paralympic Committee.

Next day on 21 May, Dr. Ammons met with Mr. Nishimura, Deputy Director of International Section and Mr. Itabashi, Chair of Legal Affairs Commission, both from Japanese Olympic Committee.  They discussed various ways how the JOC could be of more help to deaf sports in Japan.  It was mutually agreed that JOC and JDSF would work together to provide direct services and benefits for deaf athletes and prepare a bid for the 2015 Winter Deaflympics.

Dr. Ammons had a luncheon meeting with three men from Japanese Paralympic Committee (Mr. Hokugo, President, Mr. Nakamori, Secretary General, and Mr. Nakajima, Executive Director of Japan Sports Association for the Disabled at Restaurant Avaco.  Among the discussion items were equity in fund disbursement for deaf sports and the 2015 Winter Deaflympics.

Dr. Ammons left Japan feeling more confident about Japan’s serious consideration for the 2015 Winter Deaflympics bid and hosting international sporting events for the deaf in the near future.

By Secretariat