The Japan Basketball Association re-elected Yuko Mitsuya as its president, while also choosing new board members, during an irregular council meeting on Sunday.
Mitsuya's third term as president will run until September of 2021.
While Mitsuya, a women’s volleyball bronze medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, is no stranger to the role, she's bracing herself for the heavy responsibility of leading the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global uncertainty caused by the virus has made it tough for many sports organizations and leagues to know exactly when they can resume play and host events. As a former elite athlete herself, Mitsuya wants to avoid hastily calling off events and depriving today's athletes of their chances to compete.
“It’s easy to cancel but it's not easy to resume afterward,” Mitsuya said during an online news conference on Sunday when asked about the possibility of the pandemic impacting tournaments such as the All-Japan Championship qualifiers. “Looking at the 47 prefectures, there are those that can host and those that can’t at the moment. It’s important to compete in a safe environment, and you have to secure that. But from my own experience, from when our country boycotted Moscow (the 1980 Summer Olympics), one year is very valuable to athletes. So for me, it wouldn't be right to cancel tournaments without any discussions.”
Meanwhile, Mitsuya revealed plans for the JBA to host training camps for the national teams, who under normal circumstances would currently preparing for next month's Tokyo Olympics had the COVID-19 crisis not caused the 2020 Games to be postponed for a year. She also stated that the national governing body hopes to hold an event with the national squads, including Japan's 3×3 teams, in August.
"'Giving energy to Japan through basketball' is our slogan," she said. “As I’ve watched the news of professional baseball and the J. League resuming, I felt that sports really had the power to do that. I feel like our game has to follow pro baseball and the J. League, both of which have gotten a lot of exposure in the media."
Looking outward, the JBA president want to take the initiative in Asia and eventually make Japan one of the region's leading basketball nations.
The newly elected governing board consists of 18 members, nine of whom are new to their roles. Chiba Jets Funabashi chairman Shinji Shimada, who will officially become the B. League chairman next month, is one of the nine and will serve as one of the two JBA vice presidents.