Ahead of the ICC World Cricket League Division 5, we talk to Alex Miyaji who not only heads up Japanese cricket but is also a key player for the side as well.
How popular is cricket in your country?
Cricket in Japan is still considered to be a "minor sport" and is often mistaken with other sports. However, the Japanese University Cricket League provides a stable base for the development of the sport in Japan and it is gaining popularity in the schools.
What are your priorities in promoting and developing cricket as a game in your country?
Our priority is in developing cricket in targeted areas. We have identified a couple of cities and will be focusing on developing cricket especially in schools.
What challenges do you face in the growth of the game?
One of the most challenging tasks in developing the game in Japan is to find a ground near Tokyo where most of the players live.
How much schools cricket is available in your country to aid the future development of players?
Cricket is growing in the schools and we are focusing on developing it in strategically identified geographic areas so as to ensure there is a pathway for players involved.
What measures are being taken to ensure the game is taken up by women as well in your country?
Women's cricket has a strong base in the University League. It is also played by many girls in the schools.
How are your preparations for the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 progressing?
We have undergone several camps including a couple of matches against the touring Melbourne Cricket Club. We will also be playing a couple of matches in London immediately prior to traveling to Jersey.
What are your expectations for the event and how far do you think you will be able to progress through the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) structure?
The WCL will provide many challenges, but we are confident that our work over the recent years prepared us well for this occasion. We will take one match at a time and work our way up one step at a time.
Do you think cricket in your country will be in a very different position to its current state in ten years time? What are the reasons for this?
Japan has a large, wealthy, and sport loving population. The values and opportunities that cricket can provide are well received within this population. Thus, we are confident that cricket will continue to develop in Japan.