About Sapporo

The Former Hokkaido Government Office

Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan with a population of approximately 1.91 million.

It is the main city of the Northern Japanese island and prefecture - Hokkaido - where agriculture is the main stay of the local economy.

Sapporo embarked on its path toward internationalization when it hosted the 1972 Olympic Winter Games. The city has since established a proven track record of holding events and international conventions in various fields. These include the 1991 Winter Universiade, the annual Pacific Music Festival and the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Sapporo has also been active in twin-city/friendship exchanges. Based on the experience gained from these initiatives, today the city has about 1,000 registered volunteer interpreters in 18 languages, who play an active role in international events held in the city.

Sapporo is twinned with Munich (Germany) Novsibisk (Russia) Portland (USA) Shenyang (China)
Hokkaido has sister province relations with Alberta in Canada (this relationship has led to several joint curling initiatives between the two areas).

The city’s unique history and culture have nurtured an enterprising spirit in local people. Examples include the establishment of a professional soccer team based on grass-roots support that began with a signature-collecting campaign. Local residents have also initiated the annual Yosakoi Soran Festival and various other events, and even attracted a professional baseball team in 2004. In this way, local people have demonstrated the power to promote their city domestically and internationally as well as an open mind to welcome visitors.

Events held in Sapporo
1972 Winter Olympic Games
Sapporo hosted the first Olympic Winter Games in Asia in February 1972, with the participation of 1,232 athletes and officials from 35 countries and regions. Cheered on by people across Japan, Japanese athletes dominated the winners podium in the 70-metre ski jumping (now the normal hill event), with Yukio Kasaya capturing the gold medal, Akitsugu Konno the silver and Seiji Aochi the bronze. Sapporo and Hokkaido have since been seen as an important centre for Nordic skiing and various other winter sports by top athletes.

2002 FIFA World Cup
Sapporo was selected as one of Japan’s 10 host cities for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The city hosted three games – Germany vs. Saudi Arabia, Italy vs. Ecuador and Argentina vs. England. 100,000 supporters from Japan and elsewhere came to Sapporo to cheer on their teams.

2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
In 2007, Sapporo hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, which was Asia’s first such event other than those held in conjunction with the Olympic Winter Games. The Championships attracted attention because it was the first time that cross-country championship competitions were held indoors (the Sapporo Dome). The sports meet consisted of 18 events in 3 disciplines: cross-country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined. Japanese ski jumper Masahiko Harada was appointed Ambassador for the championships.

In 2017 Sapporo will host the Asian Winter Games (curling will be part of this event)

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