In Japan, the hot summer has ended, and we are starting to feel the coming of autumn. I hope that all of you are doing fine in your country and region, and I would like to express my sincere appreciation and respect to your daily efforts to develop youth and promote the organization.
In August, Karate was chosen as one of the additional categories for the 2020 Olympics. I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate the related people for their long and hard efforts to make this a reality. It is very meaningful that Karate will attract worldwide attention due to this development, and it would be natural for the budo aspect of the Full Contact competition to be a point of interest as well. Let us continue our pursuit of strength through the Full Contact Karate competition, and keep doing our best for the further development of the international organization, widely supported by men and women of all ages.
The Karate Dream Festival 2016 International Championship was held in Tokyo on August 6-7. 2,284 competitors and 31 groups (Kata) from 22 countries and regions participated in the 137 categories of Kumite and Kata, divided by age, gender, and weight, and shared their emotion and excitement with the approximated 20,000 people who attended the event. This tournament was founded to realize the dreams of all who practice Karate, regardless of group/organization, and it makes me happy that the number of participants in the event is increasing with each year. This great number not only demonstrates the scale of the event, but also the growing dreams of Karate practitioners, and I believe this is the foundation of the strength of Full Contact Karate. We will continue our research in the organization of the event, develop it even further into one of the largest Full Contact festivals in the world, and I will be looking forward to seeing many participants in future events.
In September, I attended the 16th Asian Championship held in Busan, South Korea. I wish to express my congratulations to Country Representative Il-Nam Kim of the host country and all related in the preparation of the event, for organizing a successful tournament in strong unity. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to their kind and warm hospitality during my stay. Thank you very much.
The Asia Region led by WKO Board Member Sujoto, is very active and developing at a remarkable rate. During my stay, I attended the regional meeting, seminar, and grading exam, and felt their development through such events. Their competition level, which is an important factor, has improved as well. The competitors representing the Asia Region at the World Championship next year was decided at this tournament, and I have high hopes that they will train hard in preparation, represent the Asia Region proudly, and make a big impression at the world event next year.
The All Japan Championship will be held in October, the European Championship (Bulgaria) in November, and the Russian Championship in December. The regional selection tournaments to decide the representatives for the World Championship in Weight Categories next July will soon reach its peak. In the united front of Full Contact Karate, there is a need to make a strong impression of the identity and strength of WKO. For such objective, the competitors need to train hard, and it is important for the Branch Chiefs and Contacts to have a sense of appreciation and cooperation towards the hosts who organize the event. Let us continue our efforts in strong unity, to further develop WKO into the main organization of the Full Contact world that shines brightly around the globe.
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