Japanese Ambassador Mr. Tetsu Ozaki visits LSU: from discussions about basketball to wider cooperation opportunitie

On September 13, the Ambassador of Japan to Lithuania H.E. Mr. Tetsu Ozaki with his wife visited the Lithuanian Sport University (LSU) and met with the LSU Rector Professor Dr. Diana Rėklaitienė and members of the University community.

During the meeting, the Ambassador expressed his interest in LSU activities, studies and research, as well as cooperation with Japanese universities. The visit of the honourable guest was not accidental. Mr. Ozaki is one of the most active basketball promoters in the Land of the Rising Sun and has been a member of the Board of the Basketball Association of Japan for the past three years.

“I’m committed to increasing cooperation between Lithuania and Japan. I am deeply interested in basketball. I want to see this popular sport in our country cultivated more and more from an early age. I would like to see as many basketball coaches from Lithuania as possible sharing their experience. We value the expertise of Dainius Adomaitis and other basketball coaches who are currently working in our country. We also want the Lithuanian Sports University, as the institution that has been successfully and purposefully training these specialists for many years, to share knowledge in this area,” said the Japanese Ambassador.

The LSU Rector Prof. Dr. Diana Rėklaitienė introduced to the Ambassador the University’s international study programmes, research and cooperation activities. “Since 2016 we have been cooperating with Nippon Sports Science University. Our teachers have repeatedly shared their knowledge at this higher education institution. We would like to expand our relations with Japanese universities, especially since we can offer both study programmes and short-term courses,” said the LSU Rector.

According to Dr. Ramūnas Butautas, associate professor and director of the LSU Centre of Basketball Studies and Science, most of our country’s basketball specialists are LSU graduates. At this year’s FIBA Basketball World Championship, the coaching staff of the Lithuanian men’s national team was made up of the University’s alumni, while three LSU students and alumni – Jonas Valančiūnas, Donatas Motiejūnas and Deividas Sirvydis – played on the court.

“We can offer various study opportunities for basketball coaches from Japan. From the joint Master’s study programme ‘International Basketball Coaching and Management’, run by the LSU and the University of Split to short-term basketball courses or clinics with top coaches,” said Dr. Butautas.

The cooperation between LSU and Nippon University of Sports Science started in 2016 with the assistance of the Lithuanian Ambassador to Japan. This Japanese University is one of the oldest sports science universities in the world, dating back to 1891. Over the eight years of cooperation, the universities have exchanged academics, researchers and practitioners a number of times. This year, the LSU hosted Dr. Eishin Taraoka, who shared with students and physical education teachers about pupils’ affective learning in physical education lessons. In addition, both universities are actively involved in the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE), a global organization with the mission of leading and developing sport coaching globally.