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Nippon Challenge - Press Release

July 19th, 2000 - TOKYO, Japan

Nippon Challenge has been preparing itself for the 2003 Challenge since the end of the 30th America's Cup, yet has decided to renounce its challenge for the next event. It will, in turn, conceive a long-term project of grassroots activities to promote the America's Cup and sailing culture in Japan together with Japan Sailing Federation, and will wait for the right moment to return to the America's Cup society as one Challenger from Asia.

One reason for this decision is the financial difficulty. Although we have managed to gain sponsorship from numbers of corporations, organizations, and supporters regardless of the current economic recession in Japan, in reality, the amount reaches to less than half of the intended budget. Stemming from the fact that marine sports are not prevalent enough in Japan and the sailing population is small compared to other challenging nations, we feel that Japan as a country requires further understanding of what it means to participate in this world's greatest marine event, the America's Cup.
We have considered pursuing our Challenge with a minimal budget, simply to "persevere". However, the Challenge itself requires tremendous amount of energy. Rather than trying to achieve "raising of younger generation" and "realizing the Challenge program" with limited budget and human resources, we concluded that it is most desirable to prioritize the promotion of the sailing sport within Japan.

Nippon Challenge will postpone its challenge activities for the time being, but we are high in pride of being the First Challenger from Asia and have had launched three consecutive campaigns, all resulting as the Semi-Finalists of the Challenger Series. With the great support from corporations, organizations, and supporters, we feel that we have successfully left significant footsteps in the Japanese sailing world and marine culture for others to follow.
Among countless achievements, we managed to raise the Japanese sailing level significantly through the help of world's top sailors, and have gained precious experiences through operating the Challenger Syndicate for the America's Cup. Moreover, the technological advancement made through developing and constructing one of the fastest racing yachts in the world is doubtlessly eminent.

Nippon Challenge sees this postponement as a transition from one generation, which started in 1987, into a new generation. It is time to execute a long-term project for raising younger generation with the knowledge and experience that we have accumulated in the past 12 years. It is now our obligation to create an environment where young emerging talents may fully explore their potential, together with the veterans who have had their opportunity. Nippon Challenge is now at a brand new starting line, to sail into the new generation.

Nippon Challenge looks very much forward in seeing all of you in the America's Cup family again in the near future, and would like to express deep appreciation for all of those who have supported us through our past three Challenges.

Best Wishes,
Nippon Challenge


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