Tokyo 1964 - 2020
Japan's legacy from the Summer Olympics of 1964 remains intact and strong. Five decades ago records were broken both on and off the sports field as it was the first Summer Olympics to be held in Asia. New nations like Malaysia competed for the first time while South Africa was barred for the first time due to its apartheid system. It was the first Games to be telecast internationally and Toshiba's new colour transmission system was used for the first time for some of the more popular sports for the domestic market. The first Japanese 'bullet train' came into service just 9 days before the games, connecting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka; the Tokaido Shinkansen became the fastest train in the world. In the pool, a new timing system for swimming started the clock by the sound of the starter gun and stopped it with touch pads. Technical innovations, along with the first triple level roads in Tokyo, gave Japan the opportunity to showcase to the world how it was both a technological leader and could provide both tangible and intangible legacy in what became the high growth nation.
Tokyo 2020 will be the next catalyst for growth, change and innovation for Japan. For the first time, concern for 'Legacy Affairs' has been a core role of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, not kept separate and outside the delivery authority as in London 2012. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) was established in April 2012 to manage the legacy of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. LLDC is a Mayoral Development Corporation and therefore directly accountable to Londoners through the Mayor of London.
Placing legacy for 2020 within the Tokyo delivery authority will probably set a precedent for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who now take legacy almost as seriously as the Games themselves. The distinction between the internal 'legacy affairs' of 2020, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, who will inherit some new sites, the Japan Sports Council, who will own the new stadium, and the plans of central government ministerial departments was first made public at the conference organised by the Legacy Co-Creation Association, (LCCA). This first legacy conference was organised with support from Mitsubishi Research Institute's (MRI) Vision 2020 and the 114 private companies and 62 observers from local authorities, sport foundations like SSF and education establishments who have so far joined the LCCA.
The Legacy Co-Creation Forum took place late November 2014 at Waseda University Memorial Hall, itself a legacy venue (fencing and modern pentathlon) of the 1964 games. Over one thousand delegates, including SSF, attended the 2020 legacy conference; among them were many visitors from the UK, who were attending the first UKTI (UK Trade & Industry) Sports Mission to Japan. The Sports Mission provided a unique opportunity for UK companies with Olympic Games experience to present their skills to a wide enthusiastic audience.
Waseda University, now widely acclaimed as one of Japan's top universities, hosted speakers from Tokyo 2020, games planning through to Legacy, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, provided news on major infrastructure improvements to inheriting legacy sites. Central Government representatives, included the Cabinet Secretariat, Ministers, or senior representatives, from five key national departments, who spoke passionately about their plans for, build up, and legacy from, the Games. There were tantalising visions of Tokyo in 2020 with 4k and 8k real vision TVs being the norm with broadcast quality to match (that's 4 and 8 times the quality of the current high definition); the first 5G IT structured Games with intelligent stadiums (the 5th Generation of mobile networks and 5th Generation of Wireless Systems will replace 4G which was used for London 2012) and buildings with free public WiFi throughout greater Tokyo, to name but a few innovations mentioned.
Making headlines outside the conference, major companies like Toyota, who established the Prius as the first true mass market hybrid - are planning their Mirai will become the first mass market hydrogen car. The Mirai can also double as a mobile power station in the event of loss of electricity. Toyota may be the most successful car company in the world but its 2020 legacy will be in the shape of fuel-cell vehicles and new forms of mobility. Sony have also earmarked 2020 to launch a number of new innovations, including the eagerly anticipated wrist computer with flexible OLED touchscreen. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) have also become the first gold partner of Tokyo 2020, the highest level of domestic sponsorship.
The delegates also heard from the Organising Committee of the Rugby World Cup 2019 which will be one of the major test events for the new stadium a year before the Games and the World Masters Games in 2021. The World Masters is billed as the biggest multi-sport event in the world and takes place every 4 years. Auckland, New Zealand, plays host to 25,000 athletes competing in 28 sports over 10 days in 2017. The Paralympians Association of Japan along with private sector sports companies all showcased exciting ideas in the build up to and post 2020. An indication of how seriously the private sector are taking legacy, Kyota Omori the President of MRI, the consulting firm of Mitsubishi Group and a leading Think Tank in Japan, opened the Conference and was actively involved in the whole day.
The UK Sports Mission also made visits to both legacy sports sites, current sports venues to be used for 2020 and sites where new building were going up. The visit concentrated on two main areas, the more central Heritage Zone and the newer Tokyo Bay Zone. The Heritage Zone has some of the most iconic former Olympic venues, including the Nippon Budokan, still used for judo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, used for gymnastics and still used for a wide range of sports and has become a great example of public, private and third sector partnership. Perhaps the stand-out building from 1964 is the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, originally used for basketball (the final), swimming and diving and still in use by these and many more sports. It is also home to the professional basketball team, Toyota Alvark Tokyo, who play in the National League. In the grounds of this spaceship style building the IBSA Blind Football World Championships took place during the visit. The Yoyogi is just across the road from the former National Olympic Stadium, now closed and due to be demolished, to make way for the new stadium.
I understand the Japanese people have no word for disruption, or leak, or late. The concept of a train being late or a meeting starting late is unheard of. A swimming pool is engineered not to leak and the concept of disruption is something that's hard to comprehend in Japan where everything seems so clean, runs on time and with a level of service unknown in the west. Nothing will 'get lost in translation' with all the multi language platforms being planned across the City. The 2020 Games will be a remarkable success with a legacy that can only build on that of the previous Tokyo Games.
From David Minton, UK Correspondent SSF, 2nd February 2015