Japan has been perceived as a very private country for a very long time and now Japan is aiming to change that. With their dedication into altering their perceptions and strengthen their society, Japan will definitely take benefits from the many advantages that come with hosting the 2020 Olympics. With the worldwide athletic competition that represents the unity, pride and peace bringing of communities, Japan has the opportunity to invite and speak to the world in part of building more soft power for themselves and to turn hosting activities into a civil society driver of community games. Not only that but the opportunity Japan now has to engage with the different communities around the world that are involved in the Olympics, meaning Japan can have the ability to interact with communities worldwide and change their perceptions.
With the 2020 Olympics being hosted in Tokyo, it will bring the opportunity of welcoming the world into Japan, by adding more English language to the streets and subways of Tokyo, whilst introducing more of the Japanese language to the rest of the world. Engaging the community into hosting neighbours, visitors and athletes could not only address the perceptions of isolation Japan has come to have, but they can engage with some of the causes as to why this perception has come around. With worldwide communities participating in the athletic games and the Japanese culture, it gives Japan a chance to interact with communities globally and engage with their visitors from overseas.
A crowd of volunteers were present in the last Olympic games, which have been a prominent part of the organisation, but what if the involved communities actually engaged in the activities that contribute to the hosting of the games? This would help Japan build on the success of the ‘one-school-one nation’ programme that was introduced at the Nagano Winter Games. The project began in 1998 and its primary goal was to get people to understand and contribute to strengthening peace and friendships. This was to help people create long-term relationships of cooperation and exchange in all social, cultural, sports and tourism sectors. It is now hoped to spread to many global communities and hopefully expand to the groups that are involved in the Olympics. It could open numerous opportunities for Japan, such as a Tokyo neighbourhood to host activities during the Games that could bring so many athletes together with the local sports clubs. With this, it could enable global communities of the Olympics to get involved with the Japanese sports culture and be welcomed to the Olympics by the Tokyo community.
Opportunities around technology have arrived for Japan, where they can bring the potential of the Olympics 2.0, international communication plan, to move away from being a single-point-broadcast model to have more interactions and engaged communications, helping Japan to communicate worldwide. Japan has the opportunity to explore the plans for volunteer engagement by seniors, or competitions that could target the older athletes. The non-ethnic Japanese athletes would have all had tremendous athletic successes in their time, and if Japan could get their involvement in the planning of the games, it would transform the athlete’s role to being in a larger society as well as Japan.
With Japan’s plans to expand Tokyo’s pre-existing strengths instead of stimulating mass regeneration of parts of the city, it means many of the venues are going to be pre-existing structures, and hold interest and historic value by being used for the 1964 Olympics. It could lead to emphasising their role within the world and demonstrate the city’s position as an iconic global city. With their hopes to provide a modern Olympics, it could really demonstrate the best of what Japan already has to offer.
The possibilities that have opened up for Japan are endless, affecting their economies and their social strengths. The creative energies could, in fact, make the Olympics a transformative moment, not just for abroad perceptions of Japan, but for the vibrancy of Japanese society. Tokyo 2020 should definitely be the stimulus for Japan to end the stagnation in the economy and to be more outward looking. Ultimately, it will give Japan the opportunity to develop a new vision for the nation and city in the 21st century. It will bring such things as economic development, a forced growth within Tokyo’s infrastructure and will remind Japan and the world the importance of this innovative forward thinking nation.