Photo Courtesy of Washington Spirit
On March 19, 2021, the Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with Keidanren USA and many other organizations, hosted a virtual event to celebrate Japan and U.S. friendship.
WE have the Spirit!: Women’s Soccer Connecting US and Japan included a panel discussion with Japanese professional women’s soccer players Kumi Yokoyama and Saori Takarada of the NWSL’s Washington Spirit, and Ms. Kikuko Okajima Murray, chair of the newly established WE League in Japan.
The event began with welcome remarks by Min. Shinichi Saida, Minister of Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan and Marc Knapper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea, U.S. Department of State.
Through its planning and coordination of this event, Washington CORE helped raise awareness of important issues like the nexus of gender diversity, sports and technology. Close to 500 people participated in the event, including many soccer fans throughout the U.S. and Japan, reinforcing the strong support for women’s soccer in both countries.
The event also demonstrated Japan’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, celebrating diversity and gender equality. With the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo in mind, a variety of Japanese technologies that can help to improve the fan experience were highlighted, such as interactive viewing screens with ultra-high resolution, assisted viewing technologies to make soccer games more accessible virtually, and ticketless entry crowd management systems.
It was an energetic event from beginning to end, culminating with discussion of a possible US-Japan friendly match between Japan’s WE League and the Washington Spirit in Hawaii.