Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) conducted activities to support and create a harmonious society utilizing tag rugby. The activities were held from December 4 - 6, 2018, in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, as part of the Asian Scrum Project. In addition to utilizing tag rugby as a sport to play, this program used the spirit cherished by Japanese rugby which is "No Side" and "One For All · All For One". This is a new challenge for JRFU as primary focus had always been improving rugby skills to develop rugby.
This program was carried out in cooperation with JRFU, Japan Sports Counsel (JSC), Oita Prefecture, the host city of Rugby World Cup 2019, and Beppu City, an official team camp site for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019. Beppu City, which has long focused on educating people with disabilities and on sports for people with disabilities. This has already been carried out in an international cooperation for disabled people in Laos before the implementation of this program. Therefore, the primary focus of this program was to make the relationship between two sides stronger. In addition, this program happened with the support from the NPO Corporation that supports Disabled People's activities in Asia, which has supported disabled people's activities in Laos for many years.
First, on the first day we visited Child Fund, which has implemented a social development program utilizing rugby with the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF), we exchanged opinions on the current state and possibilities of rugby penetration for people with disabilities. Here, it was expressed that by integrating the know-how of rugby in Japan and knowledge of the disabled education of Beppu city could promote rugby for disabled people in Laos.
In the visit to the Department of Education and Sports Ministry of Lifelong Sports, it was expected to contribute to the educational development of disabled people in Laos utilizing rugby itself and rugby spirit in Japan.
On the second day, lectures on the harmonious society and education for people with disabilities by Beppu city officials were held. Then a tag rugby qualification workshop was held and 37 people attended from government officials, officials from the Laos Rugby Federation and teacher training schools’ teachers participated. In this workshop, information about tag rugby and its guidance was provided to participants who have never played tag rugby.
On the third day, we held a tag rugby workshop in which people with intellectual disabilities and hearing impaired participate (101 people participated). Training that started with games using tags and rugby balls was carried out with difficulty increasing gradually until playing tag rugby at the end. This workshop was an opportunity for people with disabilities and healthy volunteers who are not common in Laos to play together. During the workshop, people with disabilities had a fear of playing, but it was seen that disabled people were getting more comfortable. It seems to be the first step toward creating a harmonious society.
This program was an opportunity for JRFU to recognize that the spirit of "No Side" and "One For All · All For One" has affinity with harmonious society. In addition, it became an opportunity to recognize that development of rugby targeting people with disabilities can contribute not only to the development of rugby but also to the realization of a harmonious society. From now on, it is possible to make the concept of 'harmonious coexistence', which is thought to be important for realizing harmonious society and "competition" considered to be an important part of the enjoyment of playing rugby and can be something to work on. In addition, as a legacy of the Rugby World Cup 2019, there is a possibility that Beppu city might be able to continue to support international cooperation activities for disabled sports with rugby development activity.
December 3rd to 7th, 2018
December 3rd AM Leave Japan
PM Arrive in Laos
December 4th AM Visit Lao Rugby Federation and Child Fund
PM Visit Department of Education and Sports Ministry of Lifelong Sports
December 5th AM Keynote lecture
PM Tag Rugby Teacher workshop
December 6th AM Workshop (for children)
PM Workshop (for Adult), Visit Education Sports Minister Leave Laos
December 7th AM Arrive in Japan