Tokyo is set to host an esports event during its 2019 fiscal year that will promote the capital's video game and anime industries. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike announced that 50 million yen (approximately $450,000) will be set aside in the 2019 budget, which begins April 1, to hold the two-day event.
"Esports involves many different industries, and the event will be an opportunity (for companies) to get some publicity," Koike told reporters.
Due to esports increasing popularity in Japan, the Japan Esports Union (JeSU) was formed last year to provide infrastructure to support players, develop talent and sanction matches. The organization also helps bridge the gap between the Japanese government's laws on competition and gambling and the developers and rights holders of esports titles.
The JeSU will co-host an esport tournament in October that will feature the video game "Pro Evolution Soccer 2019" and will be part of the cultural program at Japan's 2019 National Sports Festival to be held in the Ibaraki Prefecture.
This past December, Hideki Okamura, chairman of the JeSU, expressed Olympic aspirations for esports: "The popularity of esports has grown from last year to this year, and we will push it to a new stage next year. We think elevating the recognition of esports is one solution in making an approach to the International Olympic Committee or the Japanese Olympic Committee."
Dates, venues, and other details for the Tokyo event are still to be determined.
--Field Level Media