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Japan high school esports federation formed with backing by Mainichi Shimbun

Kimito Kubo is seen speaking about the policies and aims of the Japan High School Esports Federation (JHSEF) at a press conference to announce its establishment, in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 7, 2019. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)

TOKYO -- The Mainichi Newspapers Co. and IT firm Thirdwave Corp. on Nov. 7 announced the foundation of the Japan High School Esports Federation (JHSEF), a general incorporated association devoted to ensuring the healthy development of the sport and promotion of its wider acceptance in society.

The two companies already host the All Japan High School Esports Championship, in which teams of high school students face off against their peers and burnish their skills. The second edition of the tournament is currently underway, with initial competition set to begin in mid-November.

Kimito Kubo, president of Shobi University and former head of the Sports and Youth Bureau at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, has been named as the federation's chairman.

Initial support will come in the forms of a tournament management and promotion of establishing esports clubs at high schools. Shunji Asamoto, a neurosurgeon accredited as a sports doctor by the Japan Sports Association, has been invited to the board of directors to carry out research focusing on video game addiction and other issues.

The federation has also entered a partnership with the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which has around 450 U.S. schools in its organization. It will promote education using esports through short term exchange programs and other means.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the federation's establishment on Nov. 7, Kubo said, "Esports' appeal is that it's a level playing field in which many people can compete, overcoming differences in gender or disabilities. We want to improve society's understanding of this sport, and support high school students who are interested."

(Japanese original by Akira Matsumoto, Sports News Department)

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