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OCA pays tribute to ‘popular and respected’ Shunichiro Okano

05 Feb 2017
Kuwait, February 5, 2017: The Olympic Council of Asia has described the late Shunichiro Okano as one of the driving forces of the Olympic Movement in Japan, Asia and throughout the world. Mr Okano, an Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee and former President of the Japan Football Association, passed away on Thursday. He was 85.

The President of the OCA, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, said the Olympic Movement was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr Okano. “Mr Okano was a very popular and respected figure in the sports world, particularly in football and within the IOC,” said Sheikh Ahmad.

“He played an important role in the development of football in Japan from the 1960s onwards and helped to bring the game to its current level of popularity, from grassroots through to the national team. “He was also a very influential figure in the Olympic Movement in Japan. He was well known and well liked not only in Asia but throughout the world.

“Japan is one of the most professional and progressive National Olympic Committees in the global Olympic family and is deep in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “We also have our own Asian Winter Games in Sapporo this month, and it will not be the same for us visiting Japan without the presence of Mr Okano. He will be greatly missed throughout the sports world by athletes, coaches, officials and sports leaders alike.

“The OCA would like to offer its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr Okano, and in particular to the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, His Excellency Mr Tsunekazu Takeda. “We know that Mr Okano has left a great legacy in Japan and Asia, and his contribution to the Olympic Movement, and his love of sport, will never be forgotten.”

An ex-international football player, Mr Okano won the bronze medal in football at the Olympic Games Mexico City 1968 as an assistant coach, four years after coaching the Japanese team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964. He went on to hold the highest positions at the Japanese Football Association: President (1998-2002), Honorary President (2002-2008) and Supreme Advisor (2008-2017).

He was instrumental in helping Japan and the Republic of Korea successfully host the 2002 FIFA World Cup as Committee Chairman throughout the event. Mr Okano joined the IOC in 1990 and became Honorary Member in 2012 and dedicated his career to the promotion of sport and its values in Japan and Asia.

He played a key role at the Japanese Olympic Committee, where he was Secretary General (1977-1991) then member of the Executive Committee (1991-2017). He was Director of the Japan Amateur Sports Association (1975-1991) and Vice-President of the General Association of Asian Sports Federations (GAASF) (1985-1990). He was also council member of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) (1979-2007).
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