Japan returns to welcome the world.
by Maya Gasparoto
Translated by Loretta Murphy
Tokyo is already preparing to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Japanese city hosted its first Games in 1964. Tokyo in 1964 was very different from the metropolis we know today. The Japanese capital did not even have a basic sanitation system and trucks were responsible for most of the residential sewage collection. Experts believe that the Olympics were responsible for much of the Japanese city’s growth, as was the case with subway expansion and the construction of the first bullet train line between Tokyo and Osaka.
In 1963 the world was living a delicate moment in politics and tension regarding the nuclear threat was constant. Japan wanted to show that it was reconstructing itself after the ravages of World War II. The 1964 Olympics were the first in Asia. Tokyo had been elected to be the Olympic venue for 1949 but dropped out in 1937 due to the outbreak of war against China. In 1959 the Japanese capital won the vote from the International Olympic Committee and became the host for the 1964 Games.
Approximately $3 billion was invested in the construction of sports complexes, infrastructure and transportation system for the Japanese city. The Judo Stadium and the Olympic Stadium stood out among the competition venues.
The opening ceremony was held at the Olympic Stadium and became known as the symbol of Japan’s rebirth. Yoshiori Sakai, a youth born on August 6, 1945 (the day of the Hiroshima atomic bombing) was responsible for lighting the cauldron.
Rio and Tokyo
Twenty-eight sports were part of the Rio Games, but the event in Tokyo will feature 33 sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the inclusion of baseball, surfing, climbing, karate and skateboarding. The decision seeks to attract young audiences to the Olympic movement. Part of the strategy is to invest in social networks and the internet.
As in Rio, the Athletes’ village in Tokyo will be transformed into luxury condominiums after the games. In the 2012 London Games, many of the apartments reserved for athletes later became low income housing.
Tokyo 2020 Japan House
In 2016, it is possible to have a good idea of what the Japanese are preparing for the next Olympics. The “Japan House” pavilion offers visitors the opportunity to interact and learn about Japanese culture, as well as all details of the city hosting the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.