As preparations for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are underway, the people of Tokyo are already starting to see changes and positive effects in their economy. The world’s biggest sporting events are estimated to rake in around 19.4 trillion yen for the country according to The Mori Memorial Foundation, equaling the annual 1.4 trillion yen or around 0.3 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.
Takeo Hirata, Director-General for the Office for the Promotion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Cabinet Secretariat said, ‘The fact that Tokyo was selected to host the games makes a huge contribution to Japan getting out of deflationary sentiment.” Economic changes such as the rise in foreigners visiting the country, construction of hotels and numerous urbanization projects add to employment opportunities. The “dream effect,” coming from a celebratory mood after winning the bid last year, has also boosted the spending capacity of the people. Hirata, who has experience in promoting sports in the country including the J-League, has begun meeting with officials from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japanese Olympic Committee and other associated fields. “The metropolitan government and the sports industry will do the actual preparations, and my office will coordinate with them and the central government,” said Hirata.
It is also essential that a “barrier-free mentality” be established among the Japanese. The knowledge that people with disabilities have different needs is important for the public to learn in order to always be ready to assist them and one another during such time that help is needed. He cited an example of a disabled person getting on and off the train with the help of passengers. Barrier-free infrastructures must also included in the preparations such as logistics in the Narita and Haneda airports to make it easier for physically disabled people to navigate around the city and participate in the Paralympics. Hirata hopes that the barrier-free mentality will continue even after the games are done, that it will “remain as a Japanese tradition” as the Olympics and Paralympics are known to have caused social reforms in the host city during preparations.
[via Japan Times]