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News>Report of a kick off event

Kick off toward the"International Skills Festival for All, Japan 2007"

The WorldSkills Competition is held every two years throughout the world. Hundreds of young skilled people, accompanied by their teachers and trainers, gather together from around the world to compete before the public in the skills of their various skill categories and test themselves against demanding international standards.
The International Abilympics which was first held in 1981 in Tokyo, Japan, is an event for improving the vocational skills of persons with disabilities in order to promote their participation in socio-economic activities.
For the first time in history, these events will take place together under the banner “International Skills Festival for All, Japan 2007”.

A kick off event called “Countdown 365 for the “International Skills Festival for All, Japan 2007” (ISF2007) - Thanks for the Skills –“ was held exactly one year before the opening ceremony of ISF2007 at the Hotel Century Shizuoka in Shizuoka City on the 14th of November, 2006.

We report it as follows:

Opening Ceremony

The official countdown board for ISF2007 was lit after a brief address by the Japan Organizing Committee for ISF2007 and the guests of honor.

“With the postwar “baby-boomer” generation turning 60 and beginning to retire in 2007 creating a shortage of skilled workers, these competitions will be a good chance to convey the importance of skilled professionals and to promote the efforts of young people at work and the conscientious efforts of people with disabilities. We truly hope that ISF2007 will be attended by as many participants as possible, and attract a high level of interest.”
Mr. Hisami Okuda, Director General, Human Resources Development Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

“This event will lead to an increased recognition of how skilled people and top-level skills are important to build the firm foundation of a nation. By spreading and passing on this concept to many people around the world, especially to the younger generation, it will become a focus for the 21st century and take firm root in different areas of society.”

Mr. Shunkichi Miyoshi, Acting Chairperson, Japan Organizing Committee for ISF2007

“These two events, taking place simultaneously for the first time, will provide an excellent opportunity for many people, especially the younger generation to renew recognition of the importance of skills. And also we hope this will be a chance for an activation of the local industry and for an acceleration of building a vigorous city.”

Mr. Yoshinobu Ishikawa, Governor of Shizuoka prefecture

“Acquiring skills is fundamental for people with disabilities so that it will open the way to a “Society for All.”

I reaffirmed the MOU between IAF and WSI with Mr. Tjerk Dusseldorp, President of WorldSkills International when he visited Japan.

Mr. Kimura, Chairman of International Abilympic Federation

A Video message from Mr. Tjerk Dusseldorp, President of WorldSkills International, was also presented during the kick off event.

Countdown board lighting ceremony

Mr. Okuda, Mr. Miyoshi, Mr. Ishikawa, Mr. Saito, Mayor of Numazu, Mr. Fukumoto, Deputy Mayor of Shizuoka were on the stage and lit the countdown board which will count the days to the opening ceremony on the 14th of November, 2007.


During the kick off event there were five skills demonstrations by experienced competitors/contestants from the Skills Competition and the Abilympics so the guest were able to preview some of the activities that will take place as part of the WorldSkills Competition and the International Abilympics. The finished pieces of work were displayed for the guests to see.

Ladies/Mens Hairdressing
(skill category of WorldSkills Competition)
Ms. Risa Shouji

(skill category of WorldSkills Competition)
Mr. Satoshi Niwa

Floral Arrangement
(skill category of the International Abilympics)
Ms. Michiko Kubota

Mechanical Assembly
(skill category of the International Abilympics)
Mr.Shinichi Harada

Painting & Decorating
(skill category of WorldSkills Competition)
Mr. Sin Oishi and Mr. Takaaki Suzuki

Panel discussion

Each panelist spoke about the attractiveness and importance of ISF2007 from their point of view as well as speaking about what individuals can do to build a new society which will encompass the key word “skill”.


Mr. Yoshio Tsukio,
Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University

Mr. Naoto Noguchi,
Deputy General Manager, Corporate Manufacturing Innovation Dept.,   MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL Co., Ltd.

Mr. Shunichi Tanoue,
Instructor at College Education Dept., DENSO E & TS TRAINING CENTER CORPORATION,
Gold medalist in the 34th WorldSkills International Competition.

Ms. Mika Takabayashi,
Volunteer Promoting & Health Service Center, AISIN SEIKI Co., Ltd.


Ms. Rieko Zamma,
General Producer of ISF2007