IOC President visits Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, visited the Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments today, paying tribute to those affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

IOC President Thomas Bach at the Recovery Monument Event close to the Olympic Stadium during TOKYO 2020, the XXXII IOC Olympic Games. IOC / Greg Martin

Inspired by the Tokyo 2020 concept of “Recovery and Reconstruction Games”, the monuments are part of a project which aims to connect the world to the areas hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and offer support for the recovery from the disaster.

Joining President Bach’s visit to the monuments was Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko, as well as the monument designers, OKA Tsukushi and FUKUI Shione, and Professor AKANUMA Kiyoshi of the Geidai Faculty of Fine Arts, who supervised their creation.

During the visit, President Bach and President Hashimoto signed commemorative plates in support of the affected regions, which have been placed on the monuments.

IOC President Thomas Bach at the Recovery Monument Event close to the Olympic Stadium during TOKYO 2020, the XXXII IOC Olympic Games. IOC President Thomas Bach meeting Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko © IOC / Greg Martin

"The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are a symbol of resilience,” said President Bach. “They were awarded in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake to be Games of recovery and reconstruction. These Games are a symbol of the resilience we have when we are united in solidarity. They are a demonstration that we are always stronger together."

Attending the IOC President’s visit, students who took part in creating the monuments expressed their gratitude for the support their prefectures received from the world in the aftermath of the disaster.

Athletes competing at Tokyo 2020 will also be able to contribute. Their handwritten autographs will be cast on plates, which will then be mounted on the monuments as a lasting memory of the Games.

The three monuments, each over two metres high, were constructed using aluminium recycled from temporary housing in the affected areas following the disaster.

In workshops held in the summer of 2019 in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima – the three regions most affected by the earthquake – middle and senior high school students and students from the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) jointly created the designs and messages which now feature on the monuments. Their messages expressed their gratitude for the assistance their prefectures received in the aftermath of the disaster, and sent support to the athletes competing at Tokyo 2020.

The monuments are currently installed in front of the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery near Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium. They will be returned to the local communities in the three prefectures by the end of this year as a legacy of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The story behind the creation of the monuments and comments by the designers are available on the Tokyo 2020 website.

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