By Emily Goddard

Yasushi Yamawaki has said Tokyo 2020 will change social perception towards impairment in Japan ©Getty ImagesTokyo 2020 will create a more inclusive society in his nation by shifting social perception towards impairment, Yasushi Yamawaki, President of the Japanese Paralympic Committee, has claimed. 

Speaking on the 50th anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Paralympics Closing Ceremony, the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board member said although facilities, infrastructure and getting people active will be important tangible legacies, the change in Japanese society will be critical when Tokyo becomes first city ever to stage the Paralympics for a second time.

"I strongly believe that the Paralympics have the power to change and create a more equitable and inclusive society," Yamawaki wrote in a blog on the IPC website.

"We need an inclusive society.

"Inclusive means equal opportunities and participation not only for people with impairments, but also for every member of society.

"The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be a kind of gateway to the future - a golden opportunity to leave a legacy, which connects to an equitable, comfortable and inclusive society."

Yui Kamiji will be a strong medal hope for the host nation at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty ImagesYui Kamiji will be a strong medal hope for the host nation Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Japan is aiming to place seventh in terms of the number of gold medals at Tokyo 2020, with wheelchair tennis world number one ranked players Shingo Kunieda and Yui Kamiji being strong hopes for podium places.

Yamawaki said a strong home nation is key to a successful Games.

"At London 2012, team Japan finished 24th in the medals table," he added.

"We need to do better in six years' time and we have set a target for Tokyo 2020 - placing seventh in terms of the number of gold medals.

"It's an ambitious target but one I am confident we can meet.

"Paralympic champions are not created overnight, they are developed over time and the Japanese Paralympic Committee hopes the programmes we will implement to develop athlete pathways between now and 2020 will have the desired effect."

So far, 16 sports have been approved to feature at Tokyo 2020, including badminton, which will make its Paralympic debut after it was approved for inclusion on the programme last month.

Yamawaki said the IPC identified "a number of issues" with the submissions for the eight other sports that applied to be part of the Paralympics.

They are still in the running, though, and will be re-evaluated by the IPC Governing Board when is due to meet in Abu Dhabi next January before making a final decision.

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