TOKYO—Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced the signing of an official sponsorship contract with the wheelchair rugby team AXE (Representative: Kotaro Kishi) (Note 1) and the commemorative ceremony was held on April 12.

From left: Kotaro Kishi, AXE Representative, Hiromichi Takezaki, MOL General Manager of Human Resources Division

From left: Hiromichi Takezaki, MOL General Manager of Human Resources Division, Junko Moro, MOL Managing Executive Officer Responsible for Human Resources Division), Kae Kurahashi, MOL Human Resources Division, Kotaro Kishi, AXE Representative Kazuhiko Kikuchi, MOL Group Executive Officer (MOL rugby team)

AXE, established in 2007, is a wheelchair rugby team based in Saitama Prefecture. Currently it has 10 members. It is a highly competitive team that has posted an impressive record, advancing to the top three in the Japan Wheelchair Rugby Championships six times. MOL employee Kae Kurahashi (assigned to the Human Resources Division), is on the AXE team roster and she and her teammates are training hard in preparation for the upcoming Japan Wheelchair Rugby Championships as well as international games.

At the commemorative ceremony, AXE Representative Kishi and MOL Human Resources General Manager Hiromichi Takezaki exchanged the contract document, and Takezaki expressed his high expectations and cheers for the team’s strong showing. Kishi said the team has been making steady progress as it trains for the restart of competition, and expressed his hopes that MOL will continue to support the team and help promote the overall popularity of wheelchair rugby.

MOL will work to expand wheelchair rugby through its official sponsorship of AXE and foster an environment that encourages its diverse employees to play active roles inside and outside the company.

(*) About wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair rugby is a team sport for athletes who have disabilities requiring them to use wheelchairs. This is the only sport in the Paralympic Games that permits contact between wheelchairs. Players are allotted from 0.5 to 3.5 points depending on their level of disability. Under this system, the total points of four players on the court must be less than 8.0 points. The wheelchairs used in the game are reinforced to make them durable enough to withstand extreme contact, and modified for players in different positions.