Japan Issues First Athletic Visas to Foreign Players in the LJL
"This is a historical moment where e-Sports players have been publically recognized in Japan as professional athletes likewise to those in other sports. It is a monumental achievement for E-sports and its professional movement"
On March 30th, 2016, the Japanese Ministry gave out their first athletic visas to esports players competing in Japan for League of Legends. These first two visas were issued to Han "Eternal" Gi-hun (한기훈) and Yun "Catch" Sang-ho (윤상호), who both play on Japan's top team: DetonatioN FocusMe.
Much like the P-1 Athletic Visas given to foreign pros in the United States, Japan is taking a huge step forward helping legitimize esports as a valid business venture in a country where previously esports ventures were limited to mostly the Fighting Game Community. That’s not a surprise since their arcade culture is and has been huge for over a decade now, but all of their players were natives. Now that more LJL teams are importing both Korean players and staff, this can give the scene a bigger array of players who might be interested in coming to Japan if offered. Other teams such as Rampage and Rascal Jester - who also employ Korean players on their roster - may potentially recieve Athletic Visas for their players as well.