Business / Corporate

Japan's Asics and Mizuno look to capitalize on Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics

JIJI, Staff Report

Japanese sports equipment firms are looking at the three years through 2021, dubbed the “Golden Sports Years,” as opportunities for growth.

These are “three unprecedented years,” Akito Mizuno, president of Mizuno Corp., said of the period during which major world sporting events will be held here, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and the 2021 World Masters Games.

Asics Corp. aims to use the 2020 Summer Olympics to make its brand “shine,” said Yasuhito Hirota, president and chief operating officer. The company is one of the sponsors of the Tokyo Games.

Hirota said Asics will aim to achieve consolidated sales of ¥500 billion in 2020, up 29 percent from 2018.

The company “wants to return to world No. 1” in the market for running shoes by pushing its new Metaride series of high-performance models, he said.

He also said Asics will make India and Indonesia, where sports are growing in popularity, its priority markets. The company is considering local production in India, he added.

Mizuno expressed hopes that the 2021 World Masters Games, which will be mainly held in Kansai, will contribute to his company’s earnings.

Noting that the World Masters Games allow anyone to compete, in contrast with spectator-driven events, he said that his company “has high expectations” for the event.

Osaka is also set to host the 2025 World Expo.

On such events, Mizuno said it is “important to leave a legacy” and make sure the events are “not a temporary festival.”

He indicated that his company will work on lowering barriers for participation in sports, including promoting the construction of related facilities.