- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

TOKYO (AP) - Japan has launched a new sports agency tasked with improving athletic performance ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Japan Sports Agency, with a staff of 121, was launched Thursday by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Daichi Suzuki, who won the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, was named as the agency’s first commissioner.

The 48-year-old Suzuki became the youngest chairman of the Japan Swimming Federation in 2013. Currently, he is an executive board member of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

The agency will allocate funds to train Japanese athletes for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and also encourage more people to play sports as a way to improve community health.

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