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Laureus Sport for Good expands into Japan with support of Global Partner MUFG

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With the support of Global Partner MUFG, Laureus Sport for Good today announced funding for two sport for development programmes in Japan.
Ahead of the country becoming a global sporting hub over the next two years as the country hosts the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Laureus will support young people at the grassroots level who need it most. In Special Olympics Tokyo and Sports Country Ambista, Laureus Sport for Good will be funding two programmes who use sport to improve the lives of young women and girls in Tokyo.
Laureus Sport for Good has been a proud partner of the work Special Olympics undertakes in a number of countries over more than a decade. Thanks to the support of MUFG and our other partners, Laureus Sport for Good will be able to extend this support to Japan for the very first time. Laureus will make an initial grant focused on supporting access to Special Olympics programming for girls and young women with intellectual disabilities in Tokyo.
In Sports Country Ambista, Laureus Sport for Good is collaborating with an innovative programme which uses the sport of football to empower and build confidence in young women and girls. A female soccer club, Sports Country Ambista seeks to leverage the unifying power of sport to connect girls with each other and their community. Older participants at Ambista mentor the younger participants, and as well as playing football, they attend an educational academy together where they are able to study together and focus on learning life and social skills.
Laureus Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick was in Tokyo to experience the work of Laureus’ new programme partners first-hand, spending time engaging with the girls and young women. The programming will help the young participants overcome societal barriers, equipping them for a life of physical activity, friendships and learning.

Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: "Laureus Sport for Good believes that sustainable funding is about more than writing a cheque from one organisation to another. We believe in building partnerships that see different cross-sector funders come together to support programmes both with their short-term needs and their long-term ambitions in mind, and it’s fantastic to see our Global Partners committing to this work.
“It’s so exciting for us to begin supporting programmes in Japan who are using sport to improve the lives of young people. I can’t wait to come back in the future and learn about the transformative work of our newest programme partners."                                  
Saiko Nanri, Executive Officer and Managing Director, Head of Corporate Communications Division, MUFG: “We are delighted that Laureus Sport for Good has started full-fledged activities in Japan. As Japan’s leading financial institution, MUFG will contribute to resolving issues facing communities around the world through supporting their initiatives both in Japan and overseas.”
Mercedes-Benz has been a long-term funder of the work Laureus Sport for Good supports around the world and is excited to be a part of the first programmes Laureus is supporting in Japan. At the activation of Laureus Sport for Good in Japan, Mercedes-Benz decided to contribute to these programmes and is looking forward to watching them grow and develop, which will in turn and contribute to Laureus Sport for Good’s goal of using the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.
Laureus Sport for Good currently supports more than 150 programmes in over 40 countries around the world who use the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Laureus Sport for Good’s programme partners all address at least one of the following six social issues, which are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Health; Education; Women and Girls; Employability; Inclusive Society and Peaceful Society.
World-leading financial group MUFG was announced as Laureus’ newest Global Partner in February at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco. Headquartered in Tokyo, MUFG has a rich history in banking dating back over 360 years. With more than 150,000 employees working in over 1,800 locations in more than 50 countries, MUFG is widely recognised for their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, acting in the best interests of society and giving back to communities around the world.
MUFG join Laureus’ eminent group of current Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen.