On September 7, 2013, Japan received the news it had longed for – Tokyo will host the Olympic Games in 2020. We all joined, celebrated and rejoiced at the honor of receiving such a noble global celebration. We knew they would, again, mark our history, after the 1964 Olympics, but what we didn’t know at the time was that they would also be inscribed in the memory of the world for other reasons – Tokyo 2020 would be the first Olympic Games to take place in the midst of a global pandemic.
Having overcome all levels, after postponing the Games for a year, and after facing painful decisions, we have been able, for 16 days, to prove that the unifying force of sport is even stronger, in a spirit of solidarity and peace.
On this trip, I realize that we have experienced many criticisms, especially from within, but I believe that the international community evaluates the work we are doing positively. The organizing committee had an additional mission, centered around safety, not only for the athletes, but also for delegates, staff, volunteers and others. I believe that this objective has been achieved, as far as possible, through the planning and implementation of measures, in a context of great difficulty and uncertainty. It was a test of strength, as the union of everyone allowed the event to succeed. I would like to express my deepest gratitude and respect to all who worked without sparing efforts to achieve our goal.
This success did not have the maximum score. Among some of the misfortunes we highlight the significant restrictions felt by journalists, in the context of measures against the spread of the virus, as well as among athletes and escorts in the spaces outside the Olympic Village, contrary to the connotations of the organizing committee and resulting from it. , this non-compliance, is a particular concern among the population.
As you know, before the Olympics, most of the Japanese were not in favor of holding the Olympics, due to the anxiety and uncertainty caused by the epidemic. Japan was facing an increase in cases and a slow pace of vaccination. However, people’s feelings changed during the Games. By following the many Japanese athletes who landed on the podium on TV, they succumbed to the magic of the games. Honestly, I am very proud of the result of the Japanese athletes (27 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze), the best result in all Olympic Games.
I think this positive feeling is also due to the good work of the media. Several programs were broadcast on TV, with testimonials from athletes, their journey to this point, after extensive preparation, along with words of encouragement and support shared by their families and friends. Many people perceived the athletes’ victories as if they were their own, glorifying the fulfillment of a dream through constant effort. We are thrilled to witness the primacy and power of man, regardless of medal colors and nationalities.
Let me congratulate the Portuguese athletes. After Japan, I was rooting for my friends in Portugal who put in an excellent performance. I am very happy with your performance, especially since I met the Portuguese delegation at the farewell ceremony of the Olympic mission in Tokyo, on July 5, in the presence of the President of the Republic.
Starting on the 24th, the Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo 2020. I hope the event is as safe as possible and that we can attend the good sporting performances, with all our support.
Japanese Ambassador to Portugal
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