Where was the Paralympics on NHK?

In January of this year, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has awarded the exclusive host broadcast rights in Japan for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 to Japan’s only public broadcaster NHK.

 

Under the terms of the agreement NHK, who have a long history of screening the Paralympic Games in Japan would apparently broadcast over 29 hours of coverage from March’s Winter Paralympics in Sochi and 46 hours from Rio 2016 on 2 free-to-air terrestrial TV channels. (General TV and Educational TV)

 

In addition, for the first time ever in winter games NHK will show live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at their terrestrial TV channel and will screen daily 30 minute long highlights programmes during the Sochi Winter Paralympics. For Rio 2016, the highlights show will be extended to one hour each day of competition.

NHK also has the option to broadcast World Championship staged by IPC sports including athletics, swimming, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and ice sledge hockey between now and 31 December 2016 and other para-sport events.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “We are absolutely delighted to extend our long-term and extremely strong partnership with NHK for a further four years.

“With Tokyo2020 on the horizon, it is vitally important that we continue to raise awareness of the Paralympic brand in Japan not just during the Paralympic Games, but all year round. This deal, which makes NHK the ‘official Paralympic broadcaster’ in Japan, will go a long way in helping us to achieve this.

 

“The deal means more Paralympic coverage than ever before in Japan and far greater promotion in advance of the Games. It provides the perfect platform for us to build upon in the years leading up to Tokyo 2020.”

Now fast forward to March 14th, the Paralympics end on the 16th.  Now the Paralympics has been shown a little, but given that NHK is the sole producer of all footage, very little has in fact been shown on NHK.  Japan has a Paralympic team, they aren’t proud of them?

This absence does not bode well for Tokyo 2020.  I’m sure Japan will pull a good show together, but if they are to produce the best Paralympics ever, they need to bring the resources of ‘Cool Japan’ down on the Paralympics now, not later.  Interviews with Japanese paralympians, perhaps alongside members of AKB48 would be a good way to create exposure.

Tokyo 2020 will of course be great, but you have to work to ensure that it is the best.

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NHK secure Paralympic rights in Japan for 2014 and 2016

Original link http://www.paralympic.org/news/nhk-secure-paralympic-rights-japan-2014-and-2016 post January 9th 2014

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has awarded the exclusive host broadcast rights in Japan for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to Japan’s only public broadcaster NHK.

Under the terms of the agreement NHK, who have a long history of screening the Paralympic Games in Japan will broadcast over 29 hours of coverage from March’s Winter Paralympics in Sochi and 46 hours from Rio 2016 on 2 free-to-air terrestrial TV channels. (General TV and Educational TV)

In addition, for the first time ever in winter games NHK will show live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at their terrestrial TV channel and will screen daily 30 minute long highlights programmes during the Sochi Winter Paralympics. For Rio 2016, the highlights show will be extended to one hour each day of competition.

NHK also has the option to broadcast World Championship staged by IPC sports including athletics, swimming, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and ice sledge hockey between now and 31 December 2016 and other para-sport events.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “We are absolutely delighted to extend our long-term and extremely strong partnership with NHK for a further four years.

“With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, it is vitally important that we continue to raise awareness of the Paralympic brand in Japan not just during the Paralympic Games, but all year round. This deal, which makes NHK the ‘official Paralympic broadcaster’ in Japan, will go a long way in helping us to achieve this.

“The deal means more Paralympic coverage than ever before in Japan and far greater promotion in advance of the Games. It provides the perfect platform for us to build upon in the years leading up to Tokyo 2020.”

Masayuki Higuchi, Head of NHK Sports, said: “We are looking forward to have the opportunity to work alongside IPC to deliver the excitement of the Games. As a public broadcaster we feel the responsibility in bringing the positive influence towards disability sports. We will strongly commit to push forward the Paralympic movement in Japan that will lead to the success of Tokyo 2020.”

Ahead of both Games, NHK will promote the Paralympics through the creation of dedicated websites, pre-programming and comprehensive and wide-ranging marketing campaigns.

NHK has also sub-licensed some rights to SKY Perfect JSAT, a subscription based satellite channel, who, for Sochi 2014 will create a free-to-air 24-hour Paralympic channel. In total it will show over 200 hours of coverage, made up of 60 hours of live coverage, highlights and pre-recorded programmes.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place between 7-16 March and will feature around 700 athletes from 45 countries who will compete in 72 medal events across five sports.

They are set to be break all Winter Paralympics viewing records with TV deals having already been announced for Canada, Europe, Great Britain, Russia and with more to come.

Recent Tokyo 2020 Paralympics News

On September 27th 2013, the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government, endorsed plans to improve facilities for people with disabilities (PWD).  In preparation for the 2020 Paralympics, the government is set to improve arenas and facilities where Paralympic athletes can train.  Training facilities will not have different floor levels. Restrooms will also be rid of barriers, while tiles with raised bumps are increased to better assist people who are visually impaired. However, facilities that will go through renovation depend on the decision of the Japan Paralympic Committee and particular sports associations.

There will also be an increase of facilities for PWDs so they can train safely and better. Meanwhile, coaches will be trained to better assist disabled athletes. Train stations and bus terminals will also go through renovations to guarantee easier access for disabled people by fiscal 2020.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government had previously stated that “it will raise the number of low-floor buses from the current rate of around 80 percent to 100 percent, and install elevators and restrooms for the disabled at all Tokyo train stations as opposed to 90 percent at present.”, according to the Mainichi News.  Some such as Japanese Paralympian Masaaki Chiba, 51, a wheelchair user and track and field athlete are suspicious of such claims saying, “Mere infrastructure improvements are pointless.” He adds, “When I get in an elevator in Japan, people don’t make room for me unless I ask, and non-disabled people use the restrooms for the disabled.”

Chiba continues:

“Attitudes toward the disabled are behind the times in Japan. That is because there is not enough communication, and because disabled and non-disabled do not understand each other,” said. Chiba believes it is necessary to speak to young people now to raise awareness before visitors flock to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympics and find themselves disappointed by anachronistic attitudes.

Chiba’s concerns appeared to be shared by the Chairman of the Japan GoalBall Association, Kazuo Kondo.  Kondo hopes many people will watch goalball ( in which participants are vision impaired, either through natural or artificial means such as a eyemask) and the aim is to throw the ball into the opponents goal) and discover the sport’s appeal, and he also says that people watching the disabled compete in sports will lead to better understanding of them in general.

“That will lead to a society that is also more accommodating to the elderly and other socially vulnerable populations,” says Kondo.

I have no doubt that Tokyo 2020 will be impressive, and as I have stated elsewhere, Tokyo is far from the worst place in the world for disability access.  My only concern is that their plans, are quite simply, not grand enough.  Restrooms in every Tokyo train station is of course welcome, and will be costly.  But where is the attempt to change the image of disability in Japan?  It was the emphasis Lord Sebastian Coe placed on the London 2012 Paralympics that led to two million people buying tickets for it.  Japan should use the resources of ‘Cool Japan’, whether it is AKB48, or Hello Kitty or other cultural ‘brands’ in order sell the idea of the Japanese Paralympics.

Still, it is early days, but I shall be watching Tokyo for the next seven years.

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References

‘Wheelchair athlete calls for better attitudes toward disabled by 2020’ http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130914p2a00m0na009000c.html

Japanese government endorses plan to improve Paralympic facilities http://japandailypress.com/japanese-government-endorses-plan-to-improve-paralympic-facilities-0437165/