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If you weren't aware, there is a little political turmoil within Tokyo. Current governor Yoichi Masuzoe is set to face a no-confidence motion from the metropolitan assembly, being supported by every singe party including the LDP who baked Masuzoe's election after our best friend from Buenos Aires Naoki Inose resigned over a monetary scandal to do with hospitals or something. It is very likely that he will either step down or be forced to step down sometime this week, meaning that he will not receive the Olympic Flag in Rio this summer.


Previously, it took about six weeks for the TMG to set up and execute the snap election after Inose's resignation, so it is entirely possible that we will see a full blown election of a new governor of Tokyo before the opening ceremony in August.

However, Mazusoe has another option. In the case of a no-confidence motion, he can dissolve the metropolitan assembly for a snap election within 10 days of dissolution, but it's very likely that even more anti-Masuzoe candidates would be elected, fueling the possible election of a non-LDP backed governor. This is also likely since, as the Japan Times reports, 70-80% of Tokyo residents want him to resign immediately.


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Masuzoe resigns over expenses scandal; IOC says work on 2020 Games likely unaffected

After weeks of mounting pressure over a political funds scandal that has tainted his office, Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe on Wednesday submitted a letter of resignation to the Tokyo assembly speaker, which takes effect on Tuesday.

A gubernatorial election to replace Masuzoe is likely to be held on July 31 or Aug. 7, according to an official at the Tokyo Election Management Committee secretariat.

The timing, though, does not portend well for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as an election now means a new governor could assume office right in the middle of the event, which runs from July 24 through Aug. 9 of that year. A governor’s term is set at four years, whereby a new election must take place. Such a situation could cause confusion during the games for the host city.

Masuzoe’s resignation is just one in a long line of blows that have plagued the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games, which include the embarrassing cancellation of the original National Stadium construction plans and allegations of plagiarism involving the official Olympic logo design.

On Wednesday the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, told The Japan Times it expects Masuzoe’s departure to have no major impact on preparations.

“The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is well on track to deliver outstanding Olympic Games, with strong support from all levels of government,” an IOC spokesman said. “We are confident that this progress will continue and look forward to working with the next Tokyo Governor.”

Meanwhile on Wednesday, lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, former chairman of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, reportedly said he is considering throwing his hat in the ring to run in the special election. Utsunomiya ran unsuccessfully in the previous 2014 Tokyo race.

Masuzoe’s decision came after all the major parliamentary groups, including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, submitted a no-confidence motion against him on Tuesday.

The motion was slated for a vote during a plenary session that had been scheduled for Wednesday. But the assembly blocs decided to withdraw the motion after Masuzoe tendered his resignation.

The embattled politician had been accused of misappropriating millions of yen in political funds for private use. His lawyers admitted expenses worth ¥4.4 million were used “improperly,” but maintained no illegal conduct was involved.

During repeated news conferences, the governor staunchly refused to resign his office, which only fueled the anger of Tokyo voters.

During a session of the assembly steering committee on Tuesday, Masuzoe pleaded with committee members not to submit the no-confidence motion, asking for a “moratorium,” at least until the end of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

Masuzoe even shed tears during the session, according to media reports.

He had been scheduled to accept the Olympic flag at the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics as the governor of the host city for the next games.

But faced with increasing anger among residents in Tokyo, the assembly turned down Masuzoe’s request, fearing a voter backlash in the July 10 Upper House election and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election next year.

Arinobu Nomura, a Liberal Democratic Party member in the Tokyo assembly, told reporters Wednesday morning that members in the body persuaded Masuzoe to resign before he was forced out in a no-confidence vote.

“It’s better to die in a dignified way by committing seppuku instead of having your head chopped off,” Nomura said, likening the governor’s resignation to the ritual suicide of a medieval warlord in the face of defeat. “He is a governor. He is a daimyo.”

Masuzoe’s forced resignation appeared to be a fait accompli if he had not stepped down first. More than three-quarters of the 123 assembly members supported the no-confidence motion, meaning it would have passed. If it had passed, Masuzoe would be required by law to either resign or dissolve the assembly for a snap election.

Recent polls showed 70 to 80 percent of Tokyo voters were calling for his immediate resignation. Assembly members opposing the governor would most likely win a majority if a snap election were called, leaving Masuzoe vulnerable to a second no-confidence vote, which if he lost, would obligate his resignation by law.


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Tokyo 2020 Welcomes NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS CO., LTD. as an Official Partner

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee today welcomed NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS CO., LTD. (NISSIN) as a Tokyo 2020 Official Partner, the second domestic tier of the Tokyo 2020 Sponsorship Programme.

The company has been attributed the category “Packaged Noodles and Pasta.” Its addition brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 domestic partners to 38*, including 23 Official Partners.



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Tokyo 2020 launch live site programme to allow public to celebrate Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games


Tokyo 2020 have unveiled a live site programme entitled Rio to Tokyo which will take place across Japan during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to allow the public to celebrate.

The sites are aimed at allowing the population to come together to help celebrate the Games, as well as giving them the opportunity to cheer on both their national and international idols.

Two of the sites will be located in the country’s capital, with the first set to be established in Ueno Park, which is to the east side of the heritage zone of the Tokyo 2020 venue plan.

The second zone in Tokyo will be in the west of the city in a popular park of Tachikawa.

“The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games are an important milestone for us, since it is in Rio that the spotlight will be handed over to Tokyo as the next Summer Games host,” said Koji Murofushi, Tokyo 2020 sport director.

“We are convinced that Tokyo 2020 Live Sites during the Rio 2016 Games will not only allow for people of all ages and all horizons to gather and celebrate sport and to transmit their energy to the athletes, but they will also contribute to further promote sports as a driver of positive changes in our country.

“It is the inspiration that we want to share through Live Sites this summer and ultimately during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020”.

Ueno%20Park.jpgUeno Park will host one of two live sites in Tokyo ©Getty Images

The sites will feature live broadcasts from the Rio 2016 on large screens, while stage performances will also take place.

Tokyo 2020 also claim that at the Ueno site, fans will be given the opportunity to experience “cutting-edge” video technology, while official Tokyo 2020 merchandise will also be available for purchase.

Fan sites are also due to be established in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, three prefectures affected by the one worst natural disasters to ever hit the country in 2011 when a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck.


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I found an article from December 2015 that I'm surprised we never came across then.

Company that made 1964 Olympic torch aims to create 2020 flame

FUKUSHIMA -- Nippon Koki Co., an explosives maker that created the Olympic torch used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, is aiming to be chosen once again to create the torch for the 2020 Summer Games.

For the 1964 Olympics, the Tokyo-based company designed a torch with a chemical flame that continued burning in water or under the oxygen-free atmosphere, developed to meet the Olympic organizing committee's request for a torch that would "absolutely not go out, even in the rain." The around 7,000 torches manufactured and delivered by the company made it through the Olympic Torch relay without burning out, and were employed again for the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics and the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics.

This time the company is aiming to create a torch that is smokeless. The Nippon Koki's chemical flame torches create a lot of smoke compared to gas-fired ones. And while some say the torches look good, there are now more indoor venues at the Olympics,and company employees worried that, indoors, the smoke would obscure the torch runner.

The company began work on the new torch in April this year, aiming for a smokeless device that can be used at any venue. They have succeeded in making a torch that emits hardly any smoke and has a clearly visible flame, but the company says that they are only around 40 percent of the way towards creating a flame that can't be put out.

The company's factory is in the village of Nishigo, Fukushima Prefecture. The Great East Japan Earthquake caused the factory to list, and the factory road collapsed. Production stopped for one month, and many of the 400 employees there sacrificed their time off to secure fuel for the heavy machinery needed to repair the building.

Factory foreman Masayuki Sato, 59, says, "When the earthquake disaster struck, the employees united to fix things," adding, "We want to finish the new torch in two years and will work to be chosen for the 2020 Olympics."

According to Nippon Koki Co. and other sources, competitors for the torch design include an association of Kanagawa Prefecture businesses and a university research organ. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will decide which torch is used.


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Japanese Emperor Akihito 'wishes to abdicate'

Japan's Emperor Akihito has expressed his desire to abdicate in the next few years, public broadcaster NHK reports.

The 82-year-old, who has had health problems in recent years, reportedly does not wish to remain emperor if he has to reduce his official duties.

But a palace spokesman denied that there is any official plan for the monarch to abdicate in what would be an unprecedented move in modern Japan.

Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, is next in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

An unnamed government source told Japan's Kyodo news agency that the emperor, who plays a largely ceremonial role but is respected deeply by many Japanese, has been contemplating the move for about a year.

His family had accepted his decision, an unnamed palace source told NHK.

However, both palace and government sources say the Imperial Household Law would have to revised to allow for the abdication to take place.

A change to the Imperial Household Law, which stipulates the rules of succession, would require approval by Japan's parliament.




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More like he has been on very ill health on the last years. I guess this pretty much means it will be Naruhito who opens the Tokyo 2020 games. His resignal will also end the Heisei Era in Japan.

It was kinda unexpected, considering how the Japanese monarchy still has many old traditions (including their controversial sexism by not making Princess Aiko second in line to the throne).


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Olympics a hot issue in Tokyo governor race


The candidates for the upcoming July 31 election include (from left) lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, former defence and environment minister Yuriko Koike, journalist Shuntaro Torigoe and former internal affairs and communications minister Hiroya Masuda.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOKYO • Campaigning ahead of an election for Tokyo governor kicked off yesterday, with candidates vying to save the city's reputation as host of the 2020 Summer Olympics after the previous two governors quit due to money scandals.

Last month's resignation of Mr Yoichi Masuzoe, the second governor to resign after Tokyo won hosting rights in 2013, came just as the Japanese capital ramped up preparations to host the Games with barely four years left.

His sudden exit spelt trouble for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as the timing meant another gubernatorial election would need to be held just before the Games' kickoff, as gubernatorial terms last four years.

The Tokyo Olympics run from July 24 through Aug 9, 2020, and a new governor would take up the post smack in the middle of the event, reported Japan Times.

The upcoming July 31 election pits Japan's first female defence minister against a competent but colourless ex-bureaucrat backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party and a well-known liberal journalist supported by four opposition parties, along with a slate of lesser-known candidates.

Though the sprawling city of some 13.5 million must deal with an ageing society and preparations for a possible earthquake many say is overdue, a major topic at a news conference on Tuesday was the Olympics, which Japan hopes to use as a driver for its sluggish economy.

One of the first duties of the new governor will be to accept the Olympic flag in Rio de Janeiro.

"Politics and money, a very old problem, arose again, leaving Tokyo leaderless at a time when it faces many issues," said candidate Hiroya Masuda, a former Cabinet minister backed by Mr Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

"The first growth strategy I wish to promote is the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We have stumbled at the start and need to speed up our preparations."

Ms Yuriko Koike, a former defence and environment minister also running for governor, said the ballooning financial burden of the Games and the issue of who will bear it must be clarified. "The Olympics are right in front of us. I want to use them as a chance to build a new Tokyo for beyond 2020," she added.

Ms Koike shot to stardom in 2007 when she became the country's first female defence minister, a post she held for slightly more than a month.

Political commentator Atsuo Ito said the poll may also be one of the first indications of how voters feel after Sunday's Upper House election, which gave Mr Abe's coalition and allies the two-thirds majority needed to revise the nation's pacifist Constitution, a controversial move.

"It's not quite like the UK (Brexit) referendum, but I think a lot of people are annoyed with the result - and this is the first chance to measure their feelings," he said.



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Tokyo elects first woman governor as it prepares for its Olympics


TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Voters in the Japanese capital elected their first woman governor on Sunday, after two predecessors stepped down over scandals that clouded the city's preparations to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games.

Yuriko Koike, Japan's first female defense minister, beat former bureaucrat and fellow member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party Hiroya Masuda, as well as liberal journalist Shuntaro Torigoe, according to an exit poll by public broadcaster NHK.

Koike, 64, angered the Tokyo branch of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party by not getting its approval before announcing her candidacy for city governor. The LDP instead drafted Masuda, 64, who once served as governor of a rural prefecture.


The NHK exit poll showed Masuda was in second place, with Torigoe, a 76-year-old cancer survivor who was backed by several opposition parties, trailed both.

The sprawling city of some 13.5 million people faces a plethora of problems such as an aging population, daycare shortage, and the ever-present possibility of a big earthquake.

But a big issue in the campaign was the 2020 Olympics, which Japan hopes will spur its economy, struggling to escape decades of deflation.

Construction of the main stadium has been delayed and the original logo for the games had to be scrapped after plagiarism accusations.

After the resignations of the city's two previous governors, Koike will be responsible for saving Tokyo's reputation as host for the games.

One of her first duties will be to travel to Rio de Janeiro when the curtain comes down on next month's games there to accept the Olympic flag as the next host.

"The Olympics are right in front of us. I want to use them as a chance to build a new Tokyo for beyond 2020," Koike said when the campaign began.



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The Emperor speaks, this time in public , in regards of the rumours about his abdication. Apparently he kind of retracted and said the role of Emperor should be until his eventual death, though he hinted at the possibility of creating a regency under the Crown Prince when he eventually can no longer exercise his role properly. So the possibility of seeing him in Tokyo 2020 is still high. 

This happened already before, when Emperor Taisho (who was pretty much mentally insane) couldn't carry on his duties and his son (who would become Hirohito eventually) ruled as Regent for most of his tenure. 

In other news, Yuriko Koike, the new Tokyo Governor, is currently at Rio as part of the events of the Japan House. She will be eventually at the Closing Ceremony for the handover of the Olympic Flag. 

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Since the "Brazilians: topic was closed before I could comment, I was going to say that assessing 2016 is between vuvuzuelas and boos, I'd take the boos (which should have its limits).  But what I will be getting at  is that the Brazilian crowds' behavior between two Olympics (London 2012 and Tokyo 2020) will stick out like a sore thumb and is quite regrettable.  The various glitches could be easily forgiven if it were not for the boorish behavior of most of the Brasilian crowds.  

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6 hours ago, baron-pierreIV said:

Since the "Brazilians: topic was closed before I could comment, I was going to say that assessing 2016 is between vuvuzuelas and boos, I'd take the boos (which should have its limits).  But what I will be getting at  is that the Brazilian crowds' behavior between two Olympics (London 2012 and Tokyo 2020) will stick out like a sore thumb and is quite regrettable.  The various glitches could be easily forgiven if it were not for the boorish behavior of most of the Brasilian crowds.  

Yeah, I think regrettable is the word. Bit of a quandry isn't it? On the one hand it IS off-putting to many of us. On the other hand trying to cut them some slack by knowing they can't see anything wrong with it and allowing for that's just their way. How the home country responds and embraces a games is usually in my book the difference between a good and "great" games, and it's my main mental mark down in the Rio report card.

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