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Disaster prep to be 2020 focus: Masuzoe

To help ensure that foreign visitors can enjoy the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics without concern, Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe says he will focus on making the city safer from disasters, improve access to public transportation and even encourage residents to brush up on their English conversation skills.

“Above all, we have to make solid preparations for disasters to avoid casualties,” including retrofitting facilities to make them more quake-resistant, the 65-year-old Masuzoe said in a Wednesday interview with The Japan Times at the metropolitan government building in Shinjuku Ward.

“I’d like to eliminate possible problems for visitors from abroad coming to Tokyo (for the Olympics) in six years, one by one,” he said.

For starters, Masuzoe said transportation guides at Narita Airport should be improved so that visitors can better find their way to their hotels and sports venues by public transportation.

“I think it’s quite difficult for guests who don’t understand or read Japanese to reach their hotels using public transportation,” Masuzoe said.

He added he would like to review the schedules of public transportation systems linking central Tokyo and nearby Haneda Airport to make sure they align with late-night flight arrival times.

The newly elected governor has pledged to hold “the best ever” Olympics and Paralympics, with the goal of hearing visiting athletes and others say upon leaving Japan that they were the greatest games they’ve ever seen.

To lower the language barrier, Masuzoe is calling on Tokyo citizens to at least pick up some simple English phrases.

“If you’re in a foreign country and can’t speak the local language, it’s very helpful that somebody guides you, even if it’s in broken English,” said Masuzoe, who speaks several languages, including English, French, German and Spanish.

“I’d like the public to serve as volunteer interpreters,” he said.

Specifically, he urged seniors to study English conversation.

“The elderly have plenty of time once they retire from jobs. They are quite healthy. I suggest they study simple English conversation,” the former health minister said. “It’s also good in terms of possibly warding off dementia as studying language increases brain activity.”

The metro government will provide financial aid to municipalities that offer English conversation classes, Masuzoe said.

A draft extra budget for fiscal 2014 that Masuzoe announced Tuesday includes some ¥45 million to nurture “language volunteers” for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Further touching on education, Masuzoe stressed he would like to strengthen English classes to cultivate globally minded students as well as support those who wish to go abroad to study.

“The number of young people who study abroad has decreased. . . . It’s critical. I encourage (them) to go overseas,” said the former scholar of international politics who studied in Paris and Geneva.

Masuzoe ran for office on a pledge to reform education, including putting more money into foreign language studies. About ¥2.6 billion was set aside in the draft supplementary budget to place more native English instructors in public high schools.

A metropolitan education bureau official said native English teachers will be increased in the 2014 academic year, w

hich begins in April, while instructors at public schools in Tokyo in the Japan Exchange and Teaching program will be hiked from five to 100.

New source;The Japan Times. Feb 20 2014

Link to this article;http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/02/20/national/disaster-prep-to-be-2020-focus-masuzoe/

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Well, Mori's getting stick for his pretty tactless and ungracious remarks: Tokyo 2020 President criticised by city Governor over Asada comments

Okay, it's very, very early days yet - all the've done is set up the administrative foundations of TOCOG, and I still have every faith in hem delivering a great games, but they sure haven't started well. It's just come across as just rewarding all the LDP cronies and fossils and putting a bunch of nationalist geriatrics in charge. Surely Mori's going to hav to go eventually and the TOCOG board rejuvenated.

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Thats been my thoughts - the whole thing smacks of "jobs for the boys". Its not as if Tokyo had enough of a bad wrap for being the "oldest" of the 2020 bid cities, but the fact that many of the men behind the 2020 organisation could very well be old enough to have been doing the same back in 1964. I'm not by any means ageist, but I wonder if the actual product will be as fresh faced as the bid promised.

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Government, industry trying to protect 2020 Games from cyber-attacks

The government is heeding lessons learned from the London Games in the hopes of keeping the 2020 Tokyo Olympics safe from cyber-attacks and other potential information-related emergencies.

“We only have six years left before the Tokyo Olympic Games, not six years to wait,” said a senior official with the Cabinet Secretariat.

As part of the preparations, a drill simulating a cyber-attack involving nearly 100 government and private-sector communications and information technology experts was held March 18 in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district.

The participants confirmed protocols on sharing information and the latest techniques dealing with infected computers and tracing the sources of attacks.

What was learned from the London Olympics was that new technologies are a potential for unforeseen problems, no matter how carefully officials prepare.

Problems that may arise include the illegal hacking of the Olympic website and computers, data leakage, and disruption of public transportation and the power control systems at the various venues hosting events.

During the Games in London, organizers were forced to take precautionary measures on July 27, 2012, the morning of the opening ceremony, when intelligence was received of an impending attack against the electrical system of the stadium hosting the event.

Consequently, Olympic officials deployed about 250 electricians to the stadium to deal with the possible blackout if the system was compromised.

Eventually, the organizers switched the systems in the facility to manual, and the ceremony went off without a hitch.

The official Olympic website for the Games was also illegally accessed some 212 million times.

Cyber-attacks were not the only problems. During a cycling event at the London Games, Howard Dickel, a manager with British Telecommunications Plc., received a text message from his boss asking why there was a delay in the broadcast of the race.

It was eventually learned that the delay resulted from a surge in smartphone use by the massive number of spectators who converged on a sparsely populated suburb to see the event.

Peter Bury, an official with the Office of Communications, said they did not anticipate the sharp increase in the use of smartphones.

It is important to take into account potential risks and conduct repeated testing (to simulate actual cyber-attacks), said Oliver Hoare, who was in charge of the British government’s Olympic cyber-security team, in a February speech.

The Olympics is also a venue where Japan is hoping to showcase its technological excellence to the world.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. plans to establish this summer a special in-house unit dedicated to the Olympics.

The nation’s communications companies are also discussing plans to offer free Wi-Fi on the streets for use by foreign spectators and visitors. There is also talk of providing a glasses-type monitor device that allows users to view events that have already taken place simultaneously as they watch live events.

The internal affairs ministry has held review meetings on technologies to be used during the 2020 Games in the hopes of encouraging more firms to participate.


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35.5 million(=35,500,000?)? Gunma,Tochigi,Ibaraki are actually south-Tohoku,not greater Tokyo IMO.Yamanashi(Mt. Fuji) and Chiba(Narita airport)are very countryside. Tokyo+East Kanagawa(my home)+South Saitama are real Greater Tokyo and where major sports events can be held :P .Surprised that Canada's population is less than 35.5 million.

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35.5 million(=35,500,000?)? Gunma,Tochigi,Ibaraki are actually south-Tohoku,not greater Tokyo IMO.Yamanashi(Mt. Fuji) and Chiba(Narita airport)are very countryside. Tokyo+East Kanagawa(my home)+South Saitama are real Greater Tokyo and where major sports events can be held :P .Surprised that Canada's population is less than 35.5 million.

Canada's population is 35.5 million give or take.

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Japan's consumption tax raised for 1st time in 17 years

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's consumption tax10+件

rate was raised Tuesday for the first time in 17 years, with economic data suggesting the 3-percentage-point jump to 8 percent will hurt the economy and thwart Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to beat nearly two decades of deflation.

The first round of the two-stage tax hike is aimed at covering swelling social security costs for Japan's graying population, which would help boost government tax revenues and restore the nation's fiscal health, the worst among major industrialized economies.

A possible slowdown in domestic demand, however, is set to take its toll on the economy, given that private research institutes say the tax burden on consumers is forecast to increase by around 5 trillion yen in fiscal 2014 starting April.

The government unveiled a 5.5 trillion yen stimulus package late last year, but there are fears it may be insufficient to cushion the negative impact of the tax hike, especially given the unclear outlook for the global economy due in part to the Ukraine crisis.

In fact, the Bank of Japan10+件

showed Tuesday in its March Tankan survey report that many companies were cautious about the prospects for the economy amid concerns over sluggish demand in the wake of the tax10+件

rise, despite some firms having decided to raise wages for their workers.

Major manufacturers expect sentiment to deteriorate by 9 points to plus 8 in the next three months, while large nonmanufacturers predict it will worsen by 11 points to plus 13, according to the BOJ's quarterly Tankan business confidence survey.

All eyes are on whether Abe's administration and the central bank will take additional fiscal and monetary stimulus steps if the economy shows little sign of bouncing back in the July-September period after plunging the previous quarter.

"We cannot overlook an opportunity to break away from deflation," Abe told reporters at his official residence early Tuesday.

Abe has expressed hope that wage growth on the back of the nascent economic upturn will ease the higher tax burden on households.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said at a press conference that the tax increase is "very significant" for ensuring the credibility of Japanese government bonds.

Aso said the government will "enter a crucial stage" in the coming few months, when it can prevent consumer spending and investment from stalling following a rush in demand prior to the tax change.

The government estimates the tax hike to 8 percent will increase tax revenues by about 5 trillion yen annually in fiscal 2014 and around 8 trillion yen every year after fiscal 2015.

The hike in the tax was the first since April 1997 when the rate was raised to 5 percent from 3 percent, the level at which the tax was introduced in April 1989.

As the stimulus package centering on public works projects may not benefit households that will be directly affected by the tax10+件

change, consumer spending -- accounting for about 60 percent of Japan's gross domestic product -- is certain to wane, analysts said.

The government-affiliated Japan Center for Economic Research said last month that the country's GDP is predicted to contract by an annualized 4.1 percent in real terms in the April-June quarter and to eke out 2.2 percent growth in the July-September period, citing the average projection of 41 private-sector economists.

Under legislation enacted in August 2012, Japan's consumption tax rate will be raised again to 10 percent in October 2015.

But it also stipulates that the government will seek to attain nominal economic growth of around 3 percent and real growth of about 2 percent as a nonbinding target in proceeding with the tax hike.

"We need to create economic conditions where we can increase the consumption tax rate to 10 percent" to promote integrated social security and tax reform, Aso said.

If the economy decelerates at a faster pace than expected, it may be that Abe will put off the scheduled tax increase next year, which could fan anxiety that Japan's already precarious fiscal health will deteriorate further.

The government has pledged to turn the primary balance into a surplus by fiscal 2020. A deficit in the balance means the nation cannot finance government spending other than debt-servicing costs without issuing new bonds.

The latest estimate by the Cabinet Office indicates the country cannot accomplish this even if the consumption tax10+件

hike to 10 percent is implemented.

Japan's central government debt has topped 1,000 trillion yen, equivalent to more than 200 percent of GDP.

Abe has suggested he will make a final judgment on a tax10+件

increase to 10 percent by the end of this year after assessing various economic indicators to be released through December, including the revised July-September GDP data.

News source;Mainichi

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Dentsu Appointed as Marketing Agency by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Dentsu Inc. (TOKYO:4324)(ISIN:JP3551520004)(President & CEO: Tadashi Ishii; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 74,609.81 million yen) announced today that the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Headquarters: Tokyo; President: Yoshiro Mori) has appointed the Company as its marketing agency.

In its capacity as marketing partner to the organising committee, Dentsu will provide assistance with the formulation of marketing plans, sponsorship sales and other services.

Leveraging the sports business knowledge and know-how that it has cultivated over many years, Dentsu will channel all the Group’s resources toward the success of the 32nd Olympic Games and the 16th Paralympic Games that will be held in 2020.



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2020 Olympic bid costs exceed 8.8 bil. yen

TOKYO, April 18, Kyodo

Tokyo's successful bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics required 8.85 billion yen in total spending, according to a report released Friday by the bid committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government.

The total cost surpassed the committee's projection of 7.5 billion yen, but higher-than-expected private donations kept the committee in the black and even created a surplus, which will be donated to the organizing committee for the 2020 Games, according to the report.

The report said operating expenses included 1.05 billion yen for activities related to candidacy filing, 4.1 billion yen for overseas promotional activities and 3.7 billion yen for building a mood of excitement around the bid.


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38 local govts gear up to develop athletes, host training for Games

Thirty prefectures and eight ordinance-designated cities have allocated a cumulative total of about ¥1.7 billion in their fiscal year’s initial budgets to develop young athletes and bid for training camps for athletes in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The local governments believe the Olympic Games will help revitalize local areas economically if hometown athletes are chosen for the Olympics and top athletes from around the world visit the areas.


Economic gains

Twenty municipalities are offering sites for training camps. Shizuoka Prefecture hosted training camps for Japan and three other countries before the 2002 FIFA World Cup which are said to have produced an economic ripple effect worth ¥1.75 billion. The prefecture has budgeted ¥20 million for camps for the Olympics.A prefectural government official said that if such camps are set up in Shizuoka, it may motivate people to visit such tourist sites as Mt. Fuji, which could yield significant economic gains for the prefecture.

Mountainous Gifu Prefecture says it is a suitable location for altitude training, and it is organizing a trial run for altitude training by inviting track and field athletes from Japan and abroad.

Fukui Prefecture, known for its textile industry, plans to press sportswear manufacturers to use Fukui-made material for uniforms and shoes for members of the Japan national team.

“If our material is used, it will be a significant advertising opportunity for us,” a local government official said.

Saitama Prefecture and seven other municipalities are budgeting for PR activities and training courses in their appeals to overseas tourists, and Yokohama and Kagawa Prefecture plan to support and promote sports for the disabled.

Noting these local government moves, Yasuhiko Endo, who was general secretary of the Japan Organizing Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, points out that the Games are “an opportunity for all regions to participate in the Olympics. It is also an opportunity to expand international exchanges. However, local municipalities must be careful not to spend too much on facilities.”



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Tokyo governor gains Olympic know-how from Beijing officials

Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe on Friday gained know-how about hosting the summer Olympics from Beijing officials as the capital cities of Asia's two biggest economies have decided to boost cooperation, despite political tensions between their central governments.

"For the preparation of the Tokyo Olympic Games (in 2020), we agreed to stay in close contact," Masuzoe, the first Tokyo chief invited by the Beijing municipal government in 18 years, told reporters after visiting the National Stadium, the main venue for the 2008 Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest," and the adjacent National Aquatics Center.

Masuzoe queried Beijing city officials on how such facilities built for the 2008 event are now being used.

Later in the day, Masuzoe, a former health minister who became Tokyo's governor in February, held talks with Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun to discuss and identify areas of future cooperation between the two municipalities.

Masuzoe, who started his three-day visit on Thursday, has said Tokyo could share with Beijing its valuable experience in overcoming serious air pollution and other kinds of urban problems it faced a few decades ago.

His visit comes amid a time of badly strained relations between Japan and China over territorial and historical issues.

Just by an odd coincidence or not, his visit to the Chinese capital started when U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Tokyo, becoming the first U.S. president to be received as a state guest in 18 years.

During Obama's talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Sino-Japanese row over the Senkaku Islands was one of the major issues.

Masuzoe had a meeting and dinner together with former Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Thursday.

The governor quoted Tang as telling him that Beijing's invitation for the first time in 18 years reflects "the Chinese government's strong will to improve relations between Japan and China."

Tang, who was also a former foreign minister, currently serving as head of the China-Japan Friendship Association, has often been playing a major role in conveying the Chinese leadership's official views to Japanese figures.

Masuzoe said that if given the chance he will brief Abe on the meeting with Tang after returning home.

Abe has expressed support for the governor's visit. He himself has not managed to hold official talks with Chinese leaders since taking office in December 2012 as the bitter dispute over the islands, controlled by Japan but claimed by China, and different perceptions of wartime history have soured bilateral relations.



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There really needs to be a Tokyo forum section no one replied to my request on Ask The Mod

I don't think we need an independent section for Tokyo 2020 right now.But as a member from host country and member who lives in the place nearest Tokyo than any others,I'd like to start petition within a week or so. I bet Mods will be unlikely to accept it but I'll give it a try. If you have any advices on starting petition please tell me by PMing,leaving some comments on my status update...or simply by posting your ideas here.

Thanks. :)

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I don't think we need an independent section for Tokyo 2020 right now.But as a member from host country and member who lives in the place nearest Tokyo than any others,I'd like to start petition within a week or so. I bet Mods will be unlikely to accept it but I'll give it a try. If you have any advices on starting petition please tell me by PMing,leaving some comments on my status update...or simply by posting your ideas here.

Thanks. :)

Easy get rid of London 2012 forum to archive if they want to continue legacy mode thread move it to general discussion Also why is Innsbruck 2012 still there remove that

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Torch relay should go past Fukushima - governor

Tokyo (AFP) - Fukushima authorities said Tuesday they wanted the Olympic torch relay to pass close to the crippled nuclear plant when Japan hosts the 2020 Games, despite uncertainties over radioactive contamination there.

Yuhei Sato, the region's governor, proposed that runners use a national highway that passes the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where reactors were sent into meltdown after Japan's huge earthquake-tsunami disaster in 2011.

At its closest point, the road is around two kilometres (1.25 miles) from the plant, although Sato did not specify if runners should use that part of the highway.

"We wish to have a torch relay here so that the status of our reconstruction can be conveyed accurately," he told a news conference after meeting Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.

Mori, a former prime minister, said his committee needs more details about the request for a torch relay and wants to study them closely.

He also said untrue rumours about safety in the area should not prevent Olympians from having a training camp there.

On Monday the governor of neighbouring Miyagi proposed the Pacific coast city of Ishinomaki, where 3,700 people are recorded as dead or missing from the tsunami, should be the starting point of the torch relay.

Tokyo, located about 220 kilometres (140 miles) south of the stricken Fukushima plant, beat challenges from Madrid and Istanbul to be named hosts of the 2020 Summer Games, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowing that the nuclear crisis was "under control".

Tokyo organisers have pledged to help reconstruct areas hit by the 2011 disaster, which left more than 18,000 people dead or missing, ahead of the Games.

The nuclear disaster itself -- the worst in a generation -- is not officially recorded as having directly killed anybody.

But radioactive leaks, including contaminated groundwater, have continued to pollute the environment. Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated from the Fukushima region, not knowing when, or if, they will be able to return.



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Murofushi appointed Tokyo 2020 sports director


TOKYO (AP) — Former Olympic hammer-throw champion Koji Murofushi has been appointed sports director of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Fluent in English, the 39-year-old Murofushi was appointed Tuesday to the role which acts as a liaison between athletes, international sports federations and the organizing committee.

"The most important thing is the needs of the athletes," said Murofushi, who has participated in four Olympics. "In the role of sports director, I always have to be sensitive to the needs of the athletes."

The sports director post was introduced at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Usually, athletes from the host country or former athletes with Olympic experience are appointed.

Murofushi won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and is still actively competing. He won his 20th consecutive national title in hammer throw at the Japanese athletics championships this month.

Murofushi, who also won a bronze medal at London 2012, is also a member of the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board which is already grappling with some difficult issues.

A major attraction of Tokyo's winning bid was that a majority of the venues will be within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) radius of the Athlete's Village. But Japanese Olympic organizers have said they are reviewing that plan because of concerns over rising costs. Some venues may have to be moved to neighboring municipalities.

"The bottom line is we need to create an environment where the athletes can perform well," Murofushi said. "The athletes have to sleep well, eat well and have good transportation. I know there are some issues with the venues but my job is to help create optimum conditions for the athletes."

Heat will also be an issue for competitors, with Tokyo temperatures in late July and early August commonly being in the band of 33 to 40 degrees Celsius (91-104) with 80 percent humidity.

"Every venue will have to take care to help athletes and ensure their safety and this is something that we will be working on," Murofushi said.




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Protesters march against Tokyo Olympic stadium




TOKYO —A group of protesters marched around Tokyo’s National Stadium on Saturday, demonstrating against plans to destroy the 56-year-old facility and replace it with a colossal, futuristic structure for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

About 500 protesters took part in the demonstration while carrying signs that read “We want a compact and economical Olympics” and “Reverse the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

“The proposed stadium is too big,” said Kazuhisa Oriyama, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest. “The organizers of the games need to reconsider their plans and make the public part of decision-making process.”

The proposed 80,000-seat stadium, designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, is to be the 2020 centerpiece but critics say the design is too big, too costly and clashes with Tokyo’s urban planning.

Prominent architects and other opponents are petitioning the government to instead upgrade the existing 48,000-seat stadium that hosted the 1964 Olympics.

The Japan Sports Council, an arm of the central government that owns the existing stadium, has scheduled demolition to begin this month.

The sports council has already scaled back the original proposal to spend 300 billion yen ($3 billion) on the new stadium to a still hefty 169 billion yen ($1.7 billion).

The IOC, under new President Thomas Bach, is currently looking at ways of reducing the costs of hosting future Olympics. Several cities declined to bid or have dropped out of the race for the 2022 Winter Games because of financial concerns.

“The new stadium design was outsized and an infringement given the focus is an Olympics that pays attention to not overspending,” said Karen Severns, an independent architectural scholar who took part in the demonstration.

Apart from cost, critics are unhappy with Hadid’s design, which some claim resembles a bicycle helmet. It will have about four times the floor space of the current stadium and dominate the surrounding area of parks and other sports facilities.

Edited by eternalcobi
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