Olympic Opening Ceremony: Bach and new Japanese Prime Minister hold talks on postponed Tokyo Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach have discussed how to ensure the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games are a “success” in a 15-minute phone call.

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According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, it was the first call between the two since Suga, who succeeded Shinzō Abe after he resigned due to ill health, took office a week ago. Suga received a majority in both houses to confirm his new position as leader of the country, having previously been elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, which Abe was previously in charge of.

Bach and Suga reaffirmed their commitment to making the Games “safe and secure” for both athletes and spectators, according to Kyodo News. The IOC and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee have agreed to a simplifying of the Games due to the financial impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the call, Bach congratulated Suga on taking office and stated that the Tokyo Games would be a “historic” event that could bring hope to the Japanese people, according to the Foreign Ministry. Suga then assured Bach, saying that his Government was working hard to keep the COVID-19 virus under control and discussing ways to stop the pandemic affecting the Games with the Organizing Committee.

“Bach said he hoped to visit Japan when it was safe to do so, with the call ending with both sides agreeing that a “strong message” needed to be sent to athletes across the world with the hosting of the Games.”

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The IOC President is hoping to speak to Suga in person at the end of October. Suga also met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike today for the first time since taking office and the two agreed to cooperate regarding the Games, pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

We share the view that collaboration between the central government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will contribute to the national attention, Koike told reporters after the meeting. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021, with the Paralympics following shortly after from August 24 to September 5.

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Olympic Athletics: Bach says phased return of sport a cause for “confidence” regarding Tokyo Olympic

The return of some sporting events amid the coronavirus pandemic should lead to confidence in our preparations for Tokyo Olympic, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said. In an open letter to the Olympic Movement, following on from one written in April, Bach gave an update on plans going forward and stated he was thankful that sport was back in some form, paying tribute to those who made it possible.

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“The very optimistic greeting of these events proves that not only athletes and sports organizations but also the public at large have been desire for the return of sport as an essential part of our lives,” Bach supposed.

We also see that sport can be organized safely, even under the ongoing restrictions. This should give all of us confidence in our preparations for future events, including the Tokyo Olympic Games. Despite his optimism, Bach stressed the need to continue to act responsibly when planning and scheduling sports events.

Many due to take place in 2020 have been postponed or canceled due to ongoing travel restrictions, limits on large gatherings, and concern for the safety of athletes and personnel. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the most high-profile example – postponed from 2020 to 2021 in March.

“In our preparation and scheduling, we all have great accountability, not only for our own stakeholders but for the entire game community,” added Bach.

From knowledge, we know that every mishap that touches one of us affects all of us and has the possible to undo the great progress we have made together in the past few months. In this setting, we are monitoring the potential of innovative testing methods for the safe organization of events. In addition to the already existing test methods, there are several so-called rapid tests already on the market or under development. 

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When used in mixture with other virus countermeasures, such fast tests give us a significant additional tool to ensure a safe setting for everyone complicated. Bach also mentioned hopeful signals coming from scientists which suggest a vaccine for COVID-19 could be advanced as early as the end of the year.

On the other hand, we have to realize that even testing methods and vaccines are not the ‘silver bullet’ that will solve all our problems.  We just do not yet know the full influence of any potential inoculation, but altogether, there are good reasons for cautious hopefulness. The IOC will continue to study these developments closely. 

We are also evaluating what consequences they would have for the organization of sports events, ranging from the need to change certain rules of our respective organizations to medical, economic, social, and logistical aspects. To this end, we continue to collaborate closely with the World Health Organization, public authorities, medical and technical experts, as well as medicinal companies. 

We are also drawing from the experience of those sports organizations that have recently organized successful events. We of course will share any visions with all those worried among you, so that all of us in the Olympic Movement can advantage.

Coronavirus cases have declined in Japan over the last month, but given the global nature of the Olympics, the health situation abroad may be as important in determining whether or not the Games can go ahead. Much of Europe is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 and the prevalence of the virus rates remain high in much of the Americas, as well as India.

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A coronavirus countermeasures taskforce, formed of officials from the Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, is assessing possible scenarios and measures that could allow the Olympics to run as predictable from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The Paralympics is then arranged to follow from August 24 to September 5. A system for allowing athletes to be exempt from travel restrictions is expected to be approved this week, while Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto recently said Tokyo 2020 should be held next year “at any cost”.

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Olympic Athletics: Van Niekerk “comfortable and confident” over Olympic title defense after return to competition

Wayde van Niekerk revealed he is comfortable and confident about defending his 400 meters title at next year’s Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo. The South African, who set the 400m world record of 43.03sec when he earned Olympic gold in Rio 2016, competed in his first international race in more than three years this week.

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He won the men’s one-lap race at a European Tour meeting in Switzerland in 45.58. Van Niekerk had been recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up in 2017, and suffered another setback earlier this year when he tested positive for COVID-19. 

“It was a good ice breaker, considering the circumstances I’ve had to go through the last few months, not being able to be as consistent as I’d like to be,” he supposed, as reported by The Citizen. 

It has been a bit of a roller coaster year, but I feel comfortable and confident for the upcoming season and the Olympic 2020 Games. I still have enough time to get myself ready for the Games, so it’s just about putting in the correct work and making sure I’m investing in the right areas for me to be ready. For now, it’s time to get back to the drawing board and start sharpening up the edges.

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Despite the encouraging return to competition, Van Niekerk decided to withdraw from the Diamond League meeting in Rome, which took place yesterday. Instead, he refunded to South Africa from his European camp to focus on the 2021 season.

Van Niekerk is a two-time world champion in the 400m, triumphing in 2015 and 2017, and also earned a world silver medal in the 200m at the latter rivalry in London.  The 28-year-old is set to compete at his second Olympic Games at Tokyo Olympic, now suspended to July 23 to August 8 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. He acted as a flag-bearer for South Africa at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced Creative Directors for opening and closing ceremonies

Tokyo Olympic 2020 committee has been announced the main creative directors for the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympic and Paralympic games, as well as the basic plan that will serve as the drawing for how the four ceremonies will be placed. Olympic fanatics can book their Olympic Opening Ceremony Tickets online from one of the most trusted online ticketing market places.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced Creative Directors for opening and closing ceremonies

Japan has been an Olympic land since the Summer Games of 1964, which were the first to be staged in Asia. In 2020, Japan will host its fourth Games, if we include the Winter Games of 1972 in Sapporo and of 1998 in Nagano.

Manasi Nomura, who is a famous kyogen actor, will serve as the Chief Executive Creative Director for all four these Ceremonies. In this capacity, Nomura will be in charge of creating and ensuring the overall theme is integrated into the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In addition to his phase comedy and film acting, Nomura is a much-admired director and producer both in Japan and overseas. His familiarity with both classical and modern Japanese arts was a key aspect in the selection committee’s decision to cast him in this role.

Takashi Yamazaki, most Award-winner movie director selected for the role of Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

Hiroshi Sasaki, he is knowns for his role as the Creative Director for the handover ceremony at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony, has now been named as the Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Paralympic events.

Moreover, Tokyo 2020 named five Creative Directors for the Tokyo 2020 Games Ceremonies. Creative producer Yoshie Kris, movie producer and writer as well Genki Kawamura, singer-songwriter Sheena Ringo, creative technologist Kaoru Sugano and choreographer MIKIKO names announced for this purpose. 

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Organizers celebrating one year ahead of the Tokyo Olympic 2020

The world’s chief sporting events less than a year away, organizers on Wednesday celebrated the start of a yearlong countdown to the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach commending the progress Tokyo has made in preparing for the event. Olympic fanatics can book their Olympic Opening Ceremony Tickets online from one of the most trusted online ticketing market places.

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Organizers celebrating one year ahead of the Tokyo Olympic 2020

“The preparations are making excellent progress, I can truthfully say I have never seen an Olympic city as prepared as Tokyo with one year to go before the Olympic Games,” said IOC President Bach.

The executive members of the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, along with guests including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, were among those who gathered at Tokyo International Forum to celebrate the milestone and reflect on the progress made in the planning of the 2020 Games.

Construction for five out of 10 national arenas for the 2020 Games has been completed, the organizers said, with construction for the last one — the Tokyo Aquatics Center — set to be completed by February 2020. Starting this month, test events have been launched to prepare for each sport.

“The Olympics brings the world together and it affords equal opportunities to all, and that is what sports are all about,” said Abe during a kickoff ceremony Wednesday afternoon, adding that the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games won’t be realized if it doesn’t lead to the recovery of the disaster areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.

“We suffered enormous damage,” Abe said. “We want to communicate our message of gratitude to those who supported us and continue to do so. We are still in the process of rebuilding.”

Bach says, “One year from now, Olympic 2020 it’s self in Japan will make history. The eyes of the world will be in Japan. Your rich history and traditions, your cutting-edge innovation, your culture of hospitality and, of course, your love and passion for the sport.”

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New Medals are Designed, to be used for Olympic 2020 winners

Tokyo 2020 also unveiled the Olympic medal designs on Wednesday.

The 2020 Olympic Games will begin with the July 24 opening ceremony and end with the closing ceremony on Aug. 9, among which 11,090 athletes will participate for 339 gold medals across 33 sports including five additional selections: baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. During the Paralympic Games — to be held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 — 4,400 athletes will compete for 540 medals across 22 sports including, for the first time, taekwondo and badminton.

The Olympic torch relay will start March 26 from J-Village in Fukushima Prefecture and will travel through all of the country’s 47 prefectures during the course of 121 days.

More than 3.2 million tickets for the events were sold in a lottery during the first stage of domestic sales in June, after more than 7.5 million people registered for the lottery. Due to the unprecedented interest in ticket sales, Tokyo 2020 said there may be an additional lottery to be held in August for Japanese residents who did not win any tickets in the first lottery round. A first-come-first-served basis sale for those living in Japan will commence in autumn. For worldwide audiences, Tokyo 2020 will commence the third wave of ticket sales on a first-come-first-served basis in spring 2020.

About 7.8 million tickets are available for the 2020 games, the majority of which is expected to go to the domestic population.

Tokyo Olympic 2020 announced Monday that Emperor Naruhito will adopt the role of Honorary Patron to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, following the organizing committee’s formal request through the national government. The nomination will extend from Wednesday until the closing day of the Paralympic Games.

“In the fragile times we are living in, the Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in a peaceful competition,” IOC President Bach said during a progress report on the current state of preparations for the 2020 Games.

“These are the Olympic Games for the world, organized by Japan and by an all-star all-Japan team,” Bach said. “With this Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, you will see all of Japan united, not only for the games, not only by the games but also through the games and for the entire Japanese society at large.”

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