Five Things Japan is Doing in Preparation for The 2020 Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games

The opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games is scheduled to begin in a little over two years, on July 24th. The Paralympics will kick off August 25th. One of the largest sporting events in the world will be taking place in the most populated city in the world. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is sure to be a spectacle, as Japan’s effort to make the games both accessible to foreigners and something uniquely their own is underway. It has been 20 years since the last Olympic Games was held in Nagano, Japan. Similarly to previous games, there will be no holding back any expenses to make it a smoothly run operation. Despite being two years out, you can see some of the ways in which the preparation for the games is already underway.

1). Increased Education in English.

It is not only the citizens of Japan who are working on their English skills but many companies as well. Some more services are being introduced, such as a recent twenty four hour English hotline for the benefits of foreigners in need of some assistance.

A textbook used in TEFL course to teach English as a second language. ©Shotaro Honda Moore.

2).Renovating Cultural Heritage Sites.

Toshu-Gu in Nikko being renovated. ©Shotaro Honda Moore.

3). Transportation and Roads.

There is also going to be additional construction done to roads to some tourist destinations. Engineers are working on making alterations to small roads that don’t have the necessary access for increased traffic.

Train stations can expect to have increased passengers and different schedules with the upcoming Olympics. ©Shotaro Honda Moore.

4). Changing the Rules of Smoking in Restaurants.

For the upcoming Olympics there has been many talks about changing the rules to accommodate those from abroad. This has been met with criticism, as it seems ridiculous to some that the Japanese should have to cater towards foreigners. There are already many restricted areas in big cities, especially main shopping streets that prohibit smoking. Usually this means that individuals who do wish to smoke, have to go out of their way or are confined to small smoking areas. Obviously this seems quite reasonable especially in areas with a high traffic of kids. One concern however is that having to regulate so many smokers to one area is incredibly inconvenient.

Designated smoking areas may be increased due to changes made for smoking in restaurants. ©Shotaro Honda Moore.

5). Creating A New National Arena.

This may be a more controversial change then the rest, even more so than the smoking. There has been some complaints by businesses as to the effect this construction has on them. Despite this, the creation of a New National Stadium is still one of importance in the eyes of many members of the Olympic Committee. It will serve as a symbol to the rest of the world when hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. The goal is to move away from concrete and incorporate much more wood and a more unique Japanese aesthetic. It is expected to be done completion in November of 2019.

Construction is underway for the new National Olympic Stadium. ©Shotaro Honda Moore.

A writer living in Japan. Creating articles about the 2020 Tokyo Games. A regular contributor to Junkture Magazine. https://www.junkturemagazine.com

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