The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project is a unique opportunity for Japan to showcase its advanced technology. The Human Support and Delivery Support Robots both aid spectators in wheelchairs whilst Power Assist Suits help with lifting heavy objects. Toyota’s Remote Location Communications Robot is there to capture life-size real-time video for people unable to attend the games.
Toyota will also offer self-driving taxi rides with its fleet of Level 4 autonomous vehicles. Whilst Japan’s space agency has launched a rocket capable of delivering an artificial meteor shower into the Earth’s atmosphere ready for the opening ceremony.
It’s not just technology that Japan will showcase in 2020 but also, its new sports venues. Although eSports is not part of the Olympic Games (yet), a 12-storey eSports arena will be built in the heart of Tokyo next year. Back in 1964, the futuristic flying-saucer shaped Tokyo Metro Gymnasium was the venue for gymnastics. For 2020, the new Ariake Gymnastics Centre has been completed and was handed over during my visit.
ASICS have opened a new sports complex in Tokyo Bay and I was fortunate enough to visit it. Covering 50,000 square feet, this new urban sports complex is the world’s largest facility for training in low-oxygen conditions. The oxygen levels can be adjusted in the fitness area, the swimming pools and the three smaller specialist training labs. The air density can be changed from ‘normal’ oxygen levels up to the conditions experienced at 4,000m altitude; this takes hypoxic training to a new level, so to speak! I got to try a workout in the gym at almost 3,000m while my red blood cells were monitored.
Against this backdrop of preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics, the recent Rugby World Cup served as a successful tourism warm up. “Japan 2019 will be remembered as probably the greatest World Cup…We’ve broken records at every level: attendance, fanzones, broadcast, digital, and social media, but really this is only part of the story. The success of this tournament has been personified by the warmth and passion of the Japanese people” said the World Rugby chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont.