Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko and CEO Muto Toshiro outlined the progress being made as preparations for this year’s Games enter the final stages. With the Olympic Torch Relay beginning on 25 March, and 18 test events taking place from April onwards, momentum is really beginning to build in Japan.
Both Hashimoto and Muto acknowledged those events will be important milestones as Tokyo 2020 works towards delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games later this year. Hashimoto explained: “As President of Tokyo 2020, I will work to implement a flawless system of preparations for the Games. These will be Games that everyone, both in Japan and around the world, can agree will be safe and secure... I will continue to strengthen our collaboration with stakeholders as we prepare for safe and secure Games – safety first.”
Following the publication of the first edition of key stakeholder playbooks in February, the finer details of the COVID-19 countermeasures continue to be worked on in preparation of the publication of the second edition by the end of April. As part of this planning process, Hashimoto explained that her experience (as a seven-time Olympian and a Chef de Mission) will ensure that athletes remain at the heart of the decision-making. She said: “Let me speak as an athlete, as well as the President of Tokyo 2020. We are doing everything possible to prepare for safe and secure Games for stakeholders and citizens alike. I am committed to creating an environment where the athletes of the world can perform with confidence and pride.”
The Session also heard about two important, upcoming decisions that will impact fans. CEO Muto explained that a decision on whether overseas spectators will be allowed to attend the Games will be made prior to the start of the Olympic Torch Relay later this month. Thereafter, a decision on venue capacity is also expected in April.
In addition to health and safety matters, Hashimoto outlined the progress being made in relation to equality. She highlighted the appointment of 12 female members to the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board, increasing female representation to 42 per cent, as well as the establishment of a Gender Equality Promotion team, headed by Sports Director Kotani Mikako.
Reflecting on the unique experiences learned since the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games, Hashimoto and Muto shared their belief with the Session that the Tokyo 2020 Games can be used as a model to benefit the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
Following this, in his report, the IOC’s Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair, John Coates, congratulated organisers on their progress, reaffirming his belief that Tokyo is still the best prepared city in Games history, despite experiencing very challenging circumstances.