The ‘30-Gold’ Ambition and Japan’s Momentum for Elite Sport Success: Feasibility and Policy Changes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External departments

  • Shanghai University of Sport


Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article reviews Japan’s elite sport capabilities and analyses Japan’s recent elite sport policy changes. The policy analysis is underpinned by Kingdon’s (1984, 1995) multiple streams framework. Data were gathered from both official performance-related databases and websites, and official and semi-official documents in Japanese and English. The main findings are that (1) Japan’s ‘30-gold’ target is not unattainable, although the narrow source of Olympic gold medals is a potential constraint; (2) the Japan Sports Agency (JSA) and the Suzuki Plan resonate with the government’s values and are largely supported by the public; and (3) policy changes were prompted/accelerated by both the political event and problem-based policy windows created by the 2011 Earthquake and other economic and social problems, Tokyo’s successful Olympic bid in 2013 and Japan’s performance at the 2016 Olympics. The study highlights the utility of the multiple streams framework and some opportunities for further advancement.