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Messages from Keidanren Executives November, 2017 Our Goals for Tokyo 2020

Shusaku NAGAE Vice Chair of the Board of Councillors, Keidanren
Director, Chairman of the Board, Panasonic Corporation

There are less than 1,000 days left until the opening ceremony of Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Since Tokyo was selected to host the Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session four years ago, many companies and municipalities have developed new technologies and services, and examined a variety of new concepts. We can now make use of these concepts. I am truly excited about the events in venues around Tokyo and the rest of Japan.

I would like to introduce two business initiatives for Tokyo 2020. Keidanren's Committee on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is promoting visits to sporting frontlines, in which corporate executives visit facilities including where athletes with physical impairments practice sports, communicate with them and support staff, and share information of such visits. Their goal is to generate people's interest in less well-known sports for Tokyo 2020. The hands-on sporting experience and direct communication with athletes actually helped me better understand the appeal of these sports and increased my desire to support athletes. This occasion also provided me with great opportunities to learn about the challenges facing athletes with impairments. It's common knowledge that facilities must be barrier-free to ensure accessibility. However, this experience renewed my awareness of the importance of eliminating barriers in people's minds, that is, to develop "barrier-free minds."

A business council for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, whose member organizations include the Japan Business Federation, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, is also promoting many programs under the theme of intangible (cultures and movements), as well as tangible (science, technologies, and innovations) heritage, which will be delivered by Tokyo 2020 Games with the help of municipalities and a variety of people around the nation.

The Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games demonstrated Japan's rapid economic growth. What should Tokyo 2020 aim to achieve? I believe that visitors from around the world will be reaching their destinations without interruption and enjoy their stay with the promise of safety and comfort through new technologies and services, irrespective of their language and physical ability. I also hope that these efforts to create "barrier-free minds" will eventually achieve an inclusive society where people value mutual rights and dignity, and support each other, and where everyone is entitled to lead an active life.

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