Message fromGovernor KOIKE Yuriko
Governor Koike’s comments
From Governor KOIKE Yuriko
Address on the Opening of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
On Tuesday 24 August, the day of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has broadcasted a live message from Governor KOIKE.
MessageHello everyone. I am Koike Yuriko, Governor of Tokyo. Two weeks have already passed since the Tokyo Olympics, an event that provided many dramatic moments.
We have been greatly impressed by sport's and the athletes' capacity to act as a "beacon of hope" for the world.
However, the Tokyo 2020 Games are not over yet. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are now about to begin.
The world is in still the midst of an intense battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
I would like to express my gratitude to the medical personnel and everyone helping in the effort to prevent infection.
The athletes will be competing under severe restrictions, including strict compliance with the playbooks, regular testing, and managed conduct, as well as adhering to the Olympic's most important aim of ensuring a safe and secure Games. We will indeed achieve this.
Starting tomorrow and continuing over a period of 12 days to September 5th, the Paralympic Games will feature 539 events across 22 sports. I have previously tried all 22 sports and experienced their attractions.
Take boccia, for example. This is a game for all ages that can be enjoyed by anyone. The boccia championship among the highschool students, and enterprises and the various games are held, and would be loved by the people. But highlighted here at the Paralympic Games, the pinnacle of the sport, are the athletes' intelligent strategies and extensive training in techniques, allowing them to anticipate upcoming steps and make accurate shots.
At the Tokyo Games, the athletes will exhibit their intense efforts and their approach to challenging limitations. Let's enjoy the thrill and depth of those challenges together through the power of sports.
Once again, your support becomes tremendous power for the athletes.
Now, as we watch from our homes through the variety of media formats, let us cheer on the athletes to enable them to achieve their best performances.
We have been encouraged to hold the Games, from not only athletes, but also from the "Para-sports and Barrier-free Ambassadors," including people in the music and entertainment industries, academic experts, and others in various fields. Let us combine our wishes and send them in a heartfelt message in support of the athletes.
Paralympic Games have the power to concretely raise the quality of the host city. Just after the 1964 Olympic Games 57 years ago, a tournament held here in Tokyo was the first to use the word "Paralympics," a first step towards welcoming persons with impairments to the world of sport. And now in 2021, Tokyo has become the first city in the world to host the Summer Paralympic Games for the second time.
Over the course of more than half a century, Tokyo has experienced high economic growth, and is now on the path to becoming a mature society. In particular, as we welcome the Tokyo 2020 Games, we have accelerated our efforts to improve both in terms of the "hard" and "soft" aspects, based on the vision of "diversity and harmony."
For example, barrier-free, 90 km in Tokyo ward, we’ve moved differences in the level of the sidewalk and installed guidance block. We solved the differences in the levels in more than 95% of the train stations, and facilitated platform doors in more than 350 stations. We’ve secured 3,200 barrier-free rooms in accomodations. We’ve enacted new ordinances and make efforts to ensure disseminations of the concept of the respect for human rights stipulated in the Olympic Charter, in every corner of the city.
Furthermore, we’ve expanded the Paralympic movement from Tokyo to all over Japan."No Limits Challenge," a program allowing individuals to try out Paralympic sports, in all 62 municipanlities of Tokyo with 50,000 participants."Team Beyond," which supports parasports, has got already more than 1.35 million registered members.
The Tokyo 2020 Games could not be successful without the success of the Paralympic Games.
The feeling of mutual understanding through parasports enhances diversity and inclusiveness, and promotes development of a sustainable city. We hope the Games to be a springboard in achieving a society in which everyone can play an active role and live a full, rewarding life according to their individual nature and desires, as well as in achieving “sustainable recovery” Tokyo is aiming at.
Last but not least, I'd again like to express my deepest thanks to all parties who joined in Tokyo Metropolitan Government's effort to hold Tokyo 2020 Games, to the people of Tokyo and throughout Japan who have shown their understanding in holding the Games, and to all people around the world. Tokyo continues to work with the Organizing Committee, the IPC, the national government and local governments, and others, taking every measure to ensure proper management of the Games.
Now it's time to begin Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Let us all support these athletes from all around the world, competitors who have overcome many difficulties to reach the pinnacle in sport.
Thank you very much.
From Governor KOIKE Yuriko
On Friday 23 July, the day of the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has broadcasted a live message from Governor KOIKE.
Address on the Opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Hello everyone. I am KOIKE Yuriko, Governor of Tokyo. The day we've been waiting for, has finally come. Here, we are at the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
We've come a long, long way, and it is only because of the support of many people that we are able to welcome this day. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you all. Thank you very much.
Currently, the world is in the midst of an intense battle against the spread Covid-19. Let us take a moment to honor the medical personnel who have been responding to this threat day and night. My thanks go to you all for your efforts in preventing infection.
At Tokyo 2020 Games, we are making every effort to ensure a safe and secure Games not only for the athletes in the spotlight, but also for the residents of Tokyo, for the Japanese people, and for everyone. And now, with athletes from all over the world gathering here in Tokyo, this historic event is set to begin.
The Tokyo 2020 Games originated as what were dubbed the "Recovery Olympics."
The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan in 2011 brought severe depression not only the areas that were directly affected, but the entire Japanese nation as well. We will never forget the warm support and encouragement we received from around the world at that time.
Ten years later, last March, the Olympic torch relay kicked off in Fukushima's J-Village. The day before yesterday—the 21st—today's opening ceremony was preceded by softball games at Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima and football at Miyagi Stadium, with more such exciting games to come.
As Governor of the host city Tokyo, and as a Japanese citizen, I would again like to express my gratitude for the support and encouragement we've received from around the world.
The Tokyo 1964 Games completely transformed Japan.
Our urban infrastructure underwent extensive improvements, including the Metropolitan Expressway and the Tokaido Shinkansen.
They symbolized rebuilding of Japan after its wartime devastation and the nation's economic recovery.
And now, the Tokyo 2020 Games. Following the decision on September 7, 2013 to hold the Games in Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has endeavored to produce qualitative changes in this city, aiming both for a successful Games and a better future.
The changes we've made in Tokyo this time are focused on creating a sustainable society for the future, a society in which people can play an active role. In dealing with the dual crisis of infectious disease and climate change now facing the world, we intend to promote sustainable recovery through the Games.
One example is the "Tokyo 2020 Medal Project." 5,000 medals have been produced from recycled metals extracted from used cell phones and other small electronic devices. The program is geared towards enhancing society's environmental awareness and more effective use of resources.
Later on, these medals, representing the glory the athletes who emerge victorious in fiercely contested battles, are all to come from this project.
Tokyo is also the first city in the world to host the Paralympic Games for the second time. Incorporating features such as barrier-free facilities and multilingual support, we have promoted development of a city that allows everyone—the elderly, persons with impairments, our international guests and residents —to know they are cared about.
To help ensure smooth transportation, we have developed a "Smooth Biz" system integrating work from home, flextime, and transportation demand management.
As one of the robust measures adopted in controlling the spread of infectious diseases, it will also contribute to the diversification of work styles and a comfortable urban environment in the future.
The transformation of Tokyo has already begun.
In order to further enhance the legacy of these Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has established the "the strategic vision for Tokyo’s future" Strategy, one aspect of which is to create a Tokyo where "people shine."
Regardless of the era, it is "people" who open up the future. We aim to create a society where anyone who wishes to grasp the future can do so. A sustainable society “people shine”. This is what we intend for the future of Tokyo, which is hosting its second Olympic and Paralympic Games, and what will form the core the legacy of these Games.
And now, the greatest moment for people to shine is about to play out before us.
In this most unusual situation, with the Games postponed a year, top athletes from around the world have been training every day as they aimed for Tokyo 2020 Games, all while struggling to secure practice facilities, seeing their events rescheduled, and facing other difficulties.
Let us express our heartfelt support to all of the athletes who have disciplined themselves and devoted themselves entirely to their sport so that they may perform their best. Let 7.8 billion spectators around the world spur their abilities. Let's ensure we take in the wondrous sight of these competitors as they "shine."
As the host city, Tokyo continues to work with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC, the national government and local governments, and others, taking every measure to ensure proper management of the Games.
In conclusion, I'd like to express my deepest thanks again to all the parties who joined TMG's effort to hold these Games, to the people of Tokyo and throughout Japan who have shown their understanding in holding the Games, and to all people around the world.
Let us make the Tokyo 2020 Games a wonderful event that will remain in people's memories forever and will be a "beacon of hope" to people around the world.
Thank you very much in the end.