First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all Branch Chiefs/Contacts, instructors, and students, for their daily efforts to further develop and promote WKO.
The regional selection tournaments for the 6th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories in July 2017, have entered its final stages. In Japan, we finished the selection of the national team with the recently held 48th All Japan Championship. The Final of this tournament was between Yuji Shimamoto, the winner of the World Championship last year, and Kembu Iriki, who placed 2nd at the same tournament, and Kembu Iriki became the winner this time, representing the great momentum of the new generation. Although he was defeated, Shimamoto fought fairly until the end like a World Champion, and I was deeply moved by his performance. I am proud to have him as our World Champion.
The selection tournaments across the world will reach its climax with the open weight European Championship in November, and the All Russian Championship in December. I strongly hope that the competitors will do their best to prepare for their respective selection tournament, and leave no regrets in their performance, so that the strongest competitors of each region will gather in Kazakhstan, and carry out a great battle to decide the world No.1 in Karate. In addition, the preparation for the big event will soon enter its main phase for the organizers, the Kazakhstan Branch, and in coordination with WKO Headquarters, various application documents will be sent across the world in the near future. I hope that everyone will confirm the content carefully and follow the appropriate deadlines, so that we can all support and lighten the burden of the organizers, and lead the series of events to a great success.
In Tokyo, the entire sports world is showing great momentum towards the 2020 Olympic Games. Although our Full Contact is not included in the Karate event that was chosen as an additional category, it is only natural that Karate itself will attract worldwide attention, and as a result, this will also lead to great interest in Full Contact, which is a completely different category from Non Contact. In such sense, the addition of Karate in the Olympic Games is a big opportunity for Full Contact as well, and I wish to further strengthen the international unity and strongly promote the presence of Full Contact across the world. Japan, as the mother country of Karate, will present various ideas and plans for the worldwide promotion of Full Contact at the appropriate timing, and I hope to receive your advice and thoughts when such time comes. Since WKO is a democratic organization built by all of us, your input is our greatest support.
Time flies fast and we are left with only 2 more months in 2016. Let us all continue our lives in good health, with warm smiles.