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Connections with People Are the Key for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

July 21, 2017

Akari Aoki, Homare Ito, Yumeka Nakata, Mamiko Yuasa, Mai Watanabe

As Tokyo will host the next Olympic Games in 2020, preparations are accelerating. In this article, we’d like to focus on the differences from the first Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, featuring the spokesperson of 2020 Games in Tokyo.

“Sports have a power to change the world and the future,” said Hikariko Ono*, spokesperson of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. “The Olympic Games are not merely the international sports meeting. It has connected various cultures and regions, and encouraged development of new technologies, and led to many big booms in local economies People have been attracted by these ‘legacies’ of  respective Olympic Games,” said Ono.

According to Ono, the Tokyo Olympic Games, which will be held for the second time in Japan, has two different features from the first one.

First of all, Tokyo 2020 is the first Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be held under Olympic Agenda 2020. Under the Agenda 2020**, International Olympic Committee made some proposals to leave a legacy in a sustainable and efficient way. As the agenda proposes “reduce the cost and reinforce the flexibility of Olympic Games management (recommendation 12),” Tokyo won’t need to build many new infrastructures spending huge amount of money. Instead, Tokyo can use the existing venues to cut the costs. Some games will take place in provincial cities therefore we can expect local areas to prosper. In 2020, preliminary football games will take place in Miyagi prefecture, the place that was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In addition, there are 38 other provincial cities being used for the games. It is first attempt in the Olympic history that so many important Olympic/Paralympic events are held at outside of the host city.

Together with People

Another feature is the fact that ordinary citizens can also join the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. In fact, the official emblem was selected through encouraged development of new technologies. The organizing committee received 14,599 entries from the public and after several format and copyright screenings, lists were shortened to four designs. Then they were open to public comments through SNS and snail mail before revealing the finalist. 

The organizing committee went through difficult time when, in 2015, they had to scrap the former logo, which was accused of basing the logo of the Théâtre de Liège in Belgium (the Japanese designer denied the plagiarism). After several months of controversy, Tokyo organizers decided to restart the whole selection process under the thoroughly disclosed rules and procedures. 

As for the preparation and operation of Olympic and Paralympic games, many citizen volunteers will be deployed. In addition, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is planning to invite public opinions in designing opening and closing ceremony, the most significant events that must be attracting attention from around the world.

Students and Games

Although there is a risk of large capital investment in social infrastructure to host the games under the tight national finance of Japan, it is anticipated about 30 trillion yen of market expansion will be brought at the 2020 Games. To make this effect a sustainable and successful one, full commitment and consensus of the general public to the Olympic and Paralympic Games are critical.

It is no doubt that this game will be a special life-time experience for us, the current college students. We, the authors, would like to engage in these Game and send out many messages from various perspectives such as culture, technology, sports, and reconstruction from big earthquakes.

*Hikariko Ono is a sporksperson of The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. After graduated from Hitotubashi University Social Science faculty, started to work at the Foreign Ministry. In 1991 she studied at Oxford University, then came back to Japan, before working at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. In 2011, she became a Director, Public Diplomacy Planning Division and dispatch of Japanese information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After that, she worked at a general manager of Public Diplomacy Planning Division.

**Olympic Agenda 2020 is the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, unanimously agreed at the 127th IOC session in Monaco on the 8th and 9th of December 2014.





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