Engaging with the Olympic and Paralympic Games
- Huge interest among BCCJ members
- Games expected to bring social and economic progress
- More BCCJ events linked to Tokyo 2020 being planned
Looking out over Tokyo Bay from Odaiba, one can appreciate how transformational the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be.
Think about the empty areas where stadia and infrastructure will be built for the 28 sporting events; look at the space in Harumi that will be home to the Olympic Village—currently a car park.
The physical legacy of the Games will be a Tokyo that rediscovers its waterfront.
But the overall legacy is expected to be much greater, with Tokyo 2020 having an impact on volunteering and diversity.
It may also result in a more open and welcoming society, while also perhaps helping the country rediscover its zest and enthusiasm; we are on the way to discovering what the opportunities might be.
At the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), there is massive interest in the Games. For organisers, sponsors, businesses, communities—as wells as the BCCJ and our members—2015 is expected to bring some great opportunities to start planning and preparing for Tokyo 2020.
Despite being keen to keep the spotlight on Brazil until after the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016, Tokyo 2020 organisers will be busy with behind-the-scenes activity this year.
With most of the management in place and sponsors signing up in great numbers, this year should see procurement and delivery really accelerating.
Among the areas of active interest for British businesses are consultancy and advisory work related to planning and delivery across the events, from design and transport to audience experience and language training, as well as information and communications technology.
The UK has world-class marketing and communications expertise to offer both organisers and sponsors. Skills in support areas such as risk management, insurance, sports medicine and testing, that featured at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, are being exported around the world.
It was no surprise to hear Brian Christian, principal of the British School in Tokyo (BST), refer to Games volunteers as those who can “make the Games”, when he spoke at the BCCJ’s event “Tokyo 2020 and you” on 24 March.
BST clearly has exactly the kind of dreams for Tokyo 2020 that many other BCCJ members have: to contribute, learn, and use the Games as a way of developing partnerships in Japan.
For BST, these may be with partner educational establishments; for others, these may be business or local community partnerships. Whatever the new links created, there are sure to be ways of getting involved meaningfully and really contributing.
This year, we also expect to hear more from the organisers and government about their legacy vision, and would like to share in that discussion.
Along with other foreign chambers, the BCCJ would like Tokyo 2020 to advance causes which we have long championed: economic revitalisation, openness, diversity, governance, access for the disabled and disadvantaged.
And, of course, we would like to know in detail what the physical legacy of the Games will be on the country and city, as well as the environmental impact and sustainability programmes surely under consideration.
The BCCJ is in a wonderful position to develop activities for our members. With partners at UK Trade & Investment, the British Council, BST and the Export to Japan website, we have a really powerful community interested in both the business and community aspects of the Games.
The BCCJ is planning events around real estate, HR and volunteering—all with content from London 2012 and relevance to Tokyo 2020.
In addition, we will be partnering with other chambers of commerce and Chuo Ward in a street rugby tournament on 5 July in the Ginza–Nihonbashi area. It will be a really exciting opportunity, ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2015 in the UK.
Look out for our quarterly status report about business in relation to Tokyo 2020 and details of a trade mission.
For us at the BCCJ, these are exciting times. We may not know exactly how things will turn out, but we believe the journey will be valuable and stimulating.