Tokyo Governor: “Sports Events Can Transform Our City”

February 18, 2019

The 2020 Olympics and the 2019 Rugby World Cup can help to usher in a new era for Tokyo with a legacy similar to that of the 1964 Summer Games, the city’s Governor Yuriko Koike said today.

“These two major events will serve as a springboard to transform our city,” she said. “This year, 2019, will be key in making those Games a success and ushering in a new Tokyo.”

“But the metric for success will not be limited to just the competition itself; we want to lead Japan beyond 2020, change the way Tokyo thinks and transform our society.”

“The previous Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 1964 left a legacy of urban infrastructure, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway and the Shinkansen bullet train network.”

“I intend for the Tokyo 2020 Games to leave a more intangible legacy. I also intend for the 2020 Games to leave a cultural legacy and for the Games themselves to be a celebration of culture.”

Koike, who was the country’s Japan’s first female defence minister, and has sought to become the first female premier, has pushed for a swathe of environmental programs in order to rebrand the city as a leader in the fight against climate change.

She has also focused on improving diversity and she sees the Paralympics as a chance to make Tokyo, notoriously difficult to navigate for citizens and visitors with disabilities, more accessible.

“I believe that the Paralympics, in particular, will be a key event that determines the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” Koike said.

“This will be the first time that a city has hosted its second summer Paralympics and as the city with that honour, Tokyo aims to lead the country in strengthening barrier-free standards in lodging facilities.”

One of the recent regulations implemented by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is the ‘Open Stay Tokyo’ project, aimed at increasing the width of doors and corridors within hotels to accommodate wheelchair uses.

 (Reporting by Reuters)