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Patrick Baumann, Saburo Kawabuchi and Ingo Weiss
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FIBA and JBA appoint members of Japan 2024 Task Force

TOKYO - FIBA and the Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) on Wednesday appointed the 10 members of the "Japan 2024 Task Force", which is to work towards solving the problems that led to the country's national basketball federation being suspended in late 2014.

The task force will be chaired by Mr Saburo Kawabuchi, President of the Japan Football Association from 2002 to 2008 and former Chairman of the J-League, Japan's national football league. 

FIBA Executive Committee member, Mr Ingo Weiss, will serve as co-chairman.

The other members of the task force are: Mr Tsuyoshi Aoki, Vice-President and Secretary General of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC); Mr Joichi Okazaki, Executive Managing Director of the Japan Sports Association; Mr Tesuo Umeno, Acting Chairman of the JBA; Mr Chikahiro Hayashi, General Manager of the Toshiba Brave Thunder club from the National Basketball League (NBL); Mr Tatsuro Kimura, President and CEO of the Ryukyu Golden Kings club from the bj-league; Ms Mikiko Hagiwara, head coach of the Waseda University's women's basketball team; Mr Kioshi Nakamura, Executive Director of Dentsu Inc.; Mr Masaki Sakaida, lawyer at Yotsuyabancho Law Office.

Mr Patrick Baumann, FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, and Mr Kimito Kubo, Director-General of the Sports and Youth Bureau, have been appointed as observers.

The 10-person panel is to work toward a vision of having a united and vibrant basketball community, thriving for success in Japan. It is also to adhere to a mission of making basketball the number one indoor sport in the country and ranking in the top three of all sports in Japan.

As previously outlined, the Task Force will be charged with fulfilling four key objectives:
1. Restructuring the JBA and ensure it is fully and efficiently functional under FIBA's General Statutes;
2. Bringing all top clubs under one pyramidal structure under the JBA and set up a sustainable and growing club competition system played with the Official Basketball Rules across the country;
3. Establishing a basic plan for the development of the game in Japan from school to elite in 5on5 and 3x3;
4. Providing the base for the concrete preparation of the country's national teams leading into the 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Mr Baumann told reporters: "This is a very important day for Japanese basketball. We have created the proceess and now it is [the turn of] the task force.

"We look forward to creating a new structure and we will make basketball successful in the future [here]."

Mr Weiss, who also serves as FIBA Treasurer and as President of the German Basketball Federation (DBB), explained why he is the only foreigner on the task force.

"We thought it was very important for the task force to be established by Japanese. All of the members are specialists in sports and business," he said.

"Each one of us will make efforts in our own field [of expertise] to start up the new JBA. Japan is a great country, the country of the rising sun and we hope its basketball will get better there."