Are the Tokyo Olympics the Catalyst to Spiritual Change in Japan?

Image courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson/Wikimedia Commons.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway following today’s Opening Ceremony. Delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Games will run through August 8th. See a full schedule here. The Tokyo Paralympics begin August 24th.

Athletes and fans aren’t the only ones affected by Japan’s attendance regulations.

“We were planning to send tons of teams to the Olympic Games, and we had the vision to impact a lot of people. Because of the coronavirus and the ongoing changes with the restrictions, we’ve had to modify those approaches. Many groups, like ourselves, decided to pivot to a digital approach to ministry,” Joe Handley with Asian Access says.

“We have a number of people interested in Japan, simply by doing mission via digital experiences.”

Believers may have changed their methods for Olympics outreach, but their vision remains the same. By 2024, they hope to see 10 million Christians in Japan and 10,000 churches.

“For the Olympics, the vision was to reach a million people as the initial catalyst. If you can get a million followers of Christ, then you have momentum that can grow exponentially,” Handley says.

The “10-10-10 vision” traces back to 2014 and a young Japanese leader. “He had this sense (in 2014) that, in the next ten years, Japan would reach 10 million followers of Christ,” Handley says.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth


  • Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers so believers can see breakthrough in Japan. The Japanese Church is so small they need help from outside.
  • Pray the Tokyo Olympics will prove to be a unique opportunity. Many ministries are using digital media strategies to influence Japan during this time.
  • Pray Japanese Christians can rise to the occasion, reach out to their neighbors, and see a revival in the country.
  • Pray the Japanese Church could rise up to meet this generation’s needs.

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