Japan-Saudi e-sports event to get under way at Tokyo Game Show 2021

Japan-Saudi e-sports event to get under way at Tokyo Game Show 2021
The Japan-Saudi eSports match will take place in Tokyo on Oct. 2-3. (Arab News JP)
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Updated 30 September 2021

Japan-Saudi e-sports event to get under way at Tokyo Game Show 2021

Japan-Saudi e-sports event to get under way at Tokyo Game Show 2021
  • Part of Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, first round to take place in the Japanese capital Oct. 2-3, with return match in the Kingdom next year

MAKUHARI, Japan: A Japan-Saudi Arabia electronic sports competition is set to take place Oct. 2-3, with officials expressing hope that the event will strengthen ties between the two nations, promote the culture of e-sports and enrich the global economy.

The competition will take place at the Tokyo Game Show 2021, Asia’s largest gaming fair.

At a pre-tournament press conference, Hideki Okamura, chairman of the Japan eSports Union, said: “Three years ago, I signed a document for an e-sports tournament with chairman Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al-Saud, and it is now finally starting.

“Although there were many issues to solve to hold the event in the midst of a pandemic, I’d like to thank the governments of Saudi Arabia and Japan, as well as relevant ministries and agencies for their cooperation; e-sports make it possible to communicate beyond space, and men and women of all ages can participate. It will grow as an industry and create new occupations,” he added.

Turki Alfawzan, CEO of the Saudi eSports Union, said: “Based on the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, we have been working hand-in-hand toward the promotion of e-sports. We would like to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.”

Alfawzan noted that “30 percent of our population are young people, and e-sports is growing steadily.”

The tournament is part of Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, and the Japanese round of the competition will be held at Sakura Town in Saitama, and can be viewed online. The total prize money is 30 million yen ($267,877).

The Saudi Arabian leg of the contest was originally scheduled to be held in July this year but has been rescheduled for 2022.

Among the games that will be contested between Team Japan and Team Saudi Arabia are “Gran Turismo,” “Tekken” and “Street Fighter.”

Alfawzan told Arab News Japan: “We want to continue to grow the e-sports community, players and the industry as a whole. Working with the Japan eSports Union is a huge help in achieving our dreams.”

Okamura added: “It is of great significance that e-sports can contribute to the partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia. Also, from the perspective of athletes, competing with overseas athletes will help improve the skills of each athlete. I believe that exchanges through e-sports will contribute to the goodwill between the two countries.”

At the end of the press conference, Okamura called on viewers to cheer for the athletes representing both countries, and said that he has high hopes that the competition will not only be a goodwill event to help Japan-Saudi relations, but also enhance communication among fans.