translated by Brett Larner
The Japan Industrial Track and Field Association (JITA) national corporate federation held a press conference on Mar. 30 in Tokyo to announce the establishment of its "Project Exceed" marathon development project. Targeting the ultimate goal of marathon medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, new Japanese marathon national record bonus and corporate league Japanese marathon national record attempt incentive policies were revealed at the press conference. With the Japan Business Federation coming on board in a sponsorship capacity, the JITA is looking widely to recruit a broad spectrum of sponsors. Project Exceed is expected to get off the ground with as much of the necessary funding as possible in place following the JITA's general assembly in July and to run until the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
A 100 million yen bonus [~$1 million USD at normal exchange rates] will be paid to any Japanese citizen athlete whose marathon time is certified as a new Japanese national record regardless of whether or not the athlete is registered as a corporate league runner, with the athlete's coach and team being awarded a 50 million yen [$500,000] bonus if the athlete is a registered corporate league runner. If another Japanese citizen athlete also breaks the national record in the same race, the lower-placing athlete will also receive 10 million yen [$100,000] and their coach and team 5 million yen [$50,000].
The corporate league Japanese marathon national record attempt incentive will only be paid to registered corporate league runners. In any of a tentative seven designated domestic Japanese marathons, any corporate league Japanese citizens who run 2:06:59 or better for men or 2:21:59 or better for women will receive a 10 million yen bonus [$100,000], with their coach and team receiving 5 million yen [$50,000]. Men who run 2:07 and women who run 2:22 will also be paid 5 million yen [$50,000], their coaches and teams getting 2.5 million yen [$25,000]. The time standards for these bonuses will be reviewed every two years.
In addition to the marathon, an accompanying "Project Proceed" will offer bonuses to athletes who set records in other disciplines. Bonus levels and other details are scheduled to be fixed later this year.