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  • Tokyo Governor Eyes Olympic Task


    (ATR) Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says she is ready to receive the Olympic flag from Brazilian Mayor Eduardo Paes at the Rio 2016 closing ceremony on Sunday night.
    Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (ATR)

    “I look forward to bringing the flag to Tokyo with all of the passion and excitement from Rio de Janeiro,” said Koike, who was elected as Tokyo’s new governor on Aug. 2. “I hope the flag is not too heavy although I’ve trained my muscles to receive it properly,” she joked at a Tokyo 2020 news conference on Saturday.

    Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto noted that an artistic segment will be featured along with the flag handover ceremony. Japanese citizens affected by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 will play an integral role.

    “We have to express appreciation to people all over the world for the given responses and support to Japan when The Great East Japan Earthquake happened,” Muto said. “The children who lived in the damaged area will form a human letter tomorrow. We want to hold a ceremony that all of Japanese youth can embrace.”

    Muto said Japan’s capital city is ready to embrace being the next host of the Summer Games as Rio 2016 extinguishes the Olympic Flame.

    “We’re totally committed to preaching the values of sport through the 2020 Games,” Muto said.

    Koike, who arrived in Rio on Aug. 19, said in addition to the responsibility of accepting the Olympic flag from the Brazilian mayor, she is also here to observe and learn from Rio 2016 and apply that to what she promises to be an economical and technologically advanced Games in Japan.

    JOC president Tsunekazu Takeda (L), Koike, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto (ATR)
    The conservative Tokyo governor looks to control taxpayer costs for 2020 venues as she is observing Rio’s economic strategy.

    “I talked with Mayer Paes and I was impressed that he wants legacy held dear and he doesn’t want the Rio Olympic venues as White Elephants.”

    Koike, who served as environment minister of Japan in addition to heading the country’s weightlifting federation, said Tokyo 2020 will emphasize the three R concept – recycling based economy, reduce the waste and re-use of materials.

    “I applied 3R to the world when I was the Minister of Environment – 3R is a concept showing a sustainable economic system,” Koike said. “3R is Reduce, Re-use, Recycle to make the game sustainable. I will ask Tokyo 2020, JOC, JSC about the plan so far and I will advance the project so as not leave to leave White Elephants to the taxpayer, but a good legacy."

    Koike also said Tokyo 2020 will build upon the Olympic motto of faster, higher and stronger, adding cleaner and clearer, meaning more transparent.

    Japan NOC president Tsunekazu Takeda highlighted his country’s impressive medal showing in Rio, saying that it bodes well for bringing exciting Games to the Japanese public in 2020.

    Japan's 4x100m team celebrate silver (ATR)
    Japan has won 12 gold, eight silver and 21 bronze for a record breaking Summer Games total of 41 in Rio.

    “Forty-one is the most medals in our history,” Takeda said.

    Japan’s 4x100-meter men’s relay team sprinted to a surprising silver medal Friday night at the Olympic Stadium – the country’s first ever in the event.

    “It was the best day for me (because) I could run with the best in the world,” said the 20-year-old Yoshihide Kiryu, who ran the third leg of the historic race. “I think I will be at my best age to run when the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held. I want to be a member of the relay and get the gold medal then.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli with reporting by Hironori Hashimoto in Rio de Janeiro

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