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IOC prepares Tokyo for life as Games organiser with first visit to 2020 Host City

A delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today concluded a successful Orientation Seminar (14-15 November) with representatives of Tokyo 2020, including the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Hakubun Shimomura, who is also responsible for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games for the National Government; Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose; and Japanese Olympic Committee President and IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda.

The two-day meeting, which comes a week ahead of IOC President Bach’s and Coordination Commission Chairman John Coates’ first visits to Tokyo, and two months after their election as host of the 2020 Olympic Games, will help the Japanese organisers to successfully negotiate the crucial transition phase, as well as allowing them to get a flying start, as they prepare to deliver the Games over the next seven years.

Led by the IOC’s Executive Director for the Olympic Games, Gilbert Felli, the delegation, which was joined by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) CEO Xavier Gonzalez, shared with the local organisers and their partners advice on managing the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games; the key milestones that occur during the lifecycle of an Organising Committee; and the key factors to be looked at during the transition period. In addition, they laid out the framework of partnership that will guide preparations for the next seven years, and outlined some best practices from previous Games.

Speaking after the seminar, Felli said: “We are excited to be here, so soon after Tokyo was awarded the right to host the 2020 Games, and to see the early progress made by the local organisers. Organising the Olympic Games is a complex undertaking, which requires great teamwork and a strong partnership from those involved, so we were pleased with the high level of commitment from all the seminar’s participants. This orientation seminar has enabled us to lay the foundation for the future and to build upon the transfer of knowledge that Tokyo has already benefited from during the bid process.

As an indication of the strong cooperation in place between the many stakeholders in Japan and of the country’s commitment to the Games, the participants at the seminar included all levels of government, and business and sports leaders. There was also an update on a number of steps already taken by the Tokyo organisers, which include appointing the Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games; establishing an office for the promotion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games; and creating a number of committees and groups at different levels of Government to support Games preparations and implementation. The next stage for the organisers will be to finalise the formation of the Organising Committee.

Takeda, Tokyo’s Bid Committee Chairman who led the Tokyo 2020 delegation at the seminar, said: “The seminar covered a wide range of topics and was immensely helpful in enabling us to deepen our understanding of exactly what role will be expected of the Organising Committee and the specific tasks it will be required to undertake. The seminar was attended by some 200 participants and, judging by the questions raised during the seminar and the initial feedback I have already received, I am sure that we all learned a great deal about the complexities and challenges of organising an event as enormous and prestigious as the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Mr Gilbert Felli and his fellow members of the IOC delegation for their meticulous planning of the seminar, and for pointing out the various potential pitfalls. Our discussions with the IOC team were extremely productive, and we are looking forward with renewed motivation, determination and enthusiasm to working closely with the IOC and all concerned members of the Olympic family, to ensure that Tokyo delivers Games that will take their place in the long and distinguished history of the Olympic Movement.

Despite bidding farewell to the IOC delegation, Tokyo 2020 is already preparing for another IOC visit: that of IOC President Bach and the Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games, John Coates, on Wednesday 20 November 2013. It will be President Bach’s first official visit to the Japanese capital, where he is expected to convene with representatives of Tokyo 2020 and the local government.

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