2020 Tokyo Olympics must be held aloft as a model for future Games
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 1, 2015)
How should the plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games be crystallized? From now on, preparations will get into full swing.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 submitted its Games Foundation Plan to the International Olympic Committee. The plan spells out the principles for holding the Games and the preparation schedule.
Held aloft as key visions for the Games are “Personal best for everyone,” “Diversity and harmony,” and “Succession to the future.”
It is important to build stadiums and other facilities where the world’s top athletes can demonstrate their real ability and provide them with the opportunity to deepen friendships through the Games. Also important is to hand down the priceless legacy of the Games to future generations.
The 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games served as a turning point for this nation to transform its overall image. The nation’s social infrastructure had dramatically improved, with the Tokaido Shinkansen line going into operation and the Shuto metropolitan expressway opened to traffic.
What can the upcoming Games, to be held in the now mature city of Tokyo, pass down to future generations? It is conceivable that it will be a society that utilizes hydrogen energy and has improved its information technology infrastructure. The organizing committee, which will draw up concrete measures next year, must rack its brains to enhance the value of the Games.
With regard to the unstable international situation, measures to fight terrorism have become extremely important. As the foundation plan has spelled out, it is vital to establish thoroughgoing security arrangements “to reassure all parties involved with the Games, the spectators, and areas neighboring the stadiums and facilities.”
To ensure that the preparations are carried out without a hitch, the entire nation should support them.
Huge financial burden
The government has submitted to the current Diet a bill concerning special measures for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to create a post for a cabinet minister who would be solely in charge of the Games, and a bill to revise the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry Establishment Law to establish a “sports agency” in charge of giving special training to promising athletes and carrying out other tasks. The new minister’s ability to coordinate views with organizations concerned will be tested.
As the scale of the Games has expanded, the cost to host the event has become immense. The IOC in December decided on Agenda 2020, a guideline for mid- and long-term reforms of the Olympic Games. Incorporated in the guideline is a scheme to make maximum use of existing as well as temporary facilities to cut costs.
This idea may reflect a sense of alarm over the current state of affairs in which the number of cities willing to host the Games has declined, because of concerns over the huge cost involved.
With regard to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the IOC executive board on Friday gave the green light to organizers of the Tokyo Games to move three venues, including one for basketball events, to existing facilities as part of a cost-cutting plan.
The organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government are reviewing this plan further. We hope they come up with a plan that will become a model for future Games.
The IOC also agreed that a host city could propose additional events at the Games. Leading candidates at the Tokyo Olympics are baseball, softball and karate. This is a topic the Japanese public is highly interested in. The organizing committee must proceed with the selection of additional sports while ensuring the process is transparent.