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An analysis of the policy-making process for disability sport in Japan and the UK/England: the cases of wheelchair basketball, CP sport and intellectual disability sport

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posted on 05.01.2021, 11:45 by Nobuko Tanaka
This study aims to analyse how disability sports has developed in Japan and England (UK). In both countries in this study the development of disability sport has many common features particularly in terms of the origins of disability sport in rehabilitation and the difficult relationship between disability and mainstream sport organisations. However, these similarities should not be exaggerated as substantial differences also exist between Japan and the UK including differences in the wider public attitudes towards disability. In order to identify the characteristics of the process of the development of disability sports in both countries, this study has utilised a comparative method and conducted case studies of three distinct types of sport organisation and types of participant, namely wheelchair basketball, cerebral palsy sports and intellectual disability sport. As a result of the analysis this study revealed three key findings. First, that there is a similarity between the two countries insofar as disability sports have been influenced by the development of broader disability/welfare policies. Second, through the application of a range of meso-level analytic frameworks it was concluded that while in the UK there had been a conflict between wheelchair sports (particularly people with spinal injury) and other kinds of disabilities, in Japan this study could not find evidence of significant conflicts among the various disabled sport organisations in relation to the development of disability sport. Third, through the application of Lukes conceptualisations of power, this study found that wheelchair basketball federations in both countries were the most influential policy actors among disability sport NGBs.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Loughborough University

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© Nobuko Tanaka

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.




Barrie Houlihan

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