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Tokyo Olympics 2020… the one that got away!


As we look back on the Tokyo Olympics 2020, we have of course mixed feelings. The Japanese government has hoped to welcome over 1 million international visitors to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics. Huge amounts of preparations went underway to make Japan an even easier and more pleasant place to visit during the Olympics. We have connections with literally hundreds if not thousands of suppliers in the tourism industry who were all so excited to welcome hundreds of thousands of people to Tokyo (and beyond). Of course, we know due to the relatively slow vaccination rate, welcoming anywhere near 1 million people to the city from all over the world was simply not realistic.

However, all is not lost. Japan will still be an even easier country to travel to, and more accessible than ever before (once its border reopen of course) due to the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people who helped prepare to welcome a million foreigners to Japan in just a few weeks. Not all the efforts pre-games to make Japan a more welcoming place was done in vain and utterly pointless. We are sure many of our clients will enjoy the increased English signage, information boards at key attractions and upgrade infrastructure where it needed it.



In this respect the game were a huge success. Much concerns were circulating amongst the Japanese public who cared for their own safety and the safety of their fellow citizens more than they cared for the Japanese governments contractual obligations to deliver the games for the International Olympic Committee. As it turns out these concerns, right as they may have been, did not turn out to be realised. From July 1st (when people started arriving at the Olympic village) until the last day of the games, they only identified 430 positive cases in a population of 52,000 overseas participants and athletes. The vast majority of the 430 were amoungst Japanese volunteers, staff or contractors at the games. In the end, only 29 athletes and 25 members of the media test positive and things were so well organised that there was only a single “cluster” in the Greek artistic swimming team with 5 testing positive.



In the 2012 London summer games Japan came 11th in the medal tables, with only 7 gold. In 2016 in Rio, they  came 7th overall with 12 gold. And this year, whilst home advantage does count a bit, they can be proud of themselves for winning 27 golf and coming third over behind only the two dominant countries


Six new sports are set to feature at the Tokyo 2020 games (they’re still using the original name despite the temporal shift): karate, skateboard, sports climbing, surfing, baseball and softball. Baseball and softball, which the committee groups as one sport, have featured at the games before but have been absent since Beijing 2008. Breakdancing, or breaking, is set to appear for the first time at Paris 2024.


Whilst it was such a pity fans could not enjoy these fantastic stadiums and facilities at the Olympic Stadium. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Yoyogi National Stadium, Nippon Budokan, Tokyo International Forum, and Kokugikan Arena. We’ve not doubt that they will be used and enjoyed by many domestic and international sports fans for many years to come.


With just a couple of weeks to rest, the Paralympic games are set to commence from August 24th to Septembers 5th. We wish all the competitors and organisers continued success at organising yet more safe and exciting sporting spectacles.