Tokyo 2020 hail nationwide approach as prefectures sign up to become host towns

The Government project is aimed at ensuring the Olympic Games benefits the whole of Japan, rather than just the host city ┬ęGetty Images

TOKYO, 28 NOVEMBER 2018 (INSIDE THE GAMES) – Tokyo 2020 have claimed a growing number of areas across Japan have signed up to a Government initiative to offer them the chance to become host towns for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat has announced that 341 municipalities from all 47 Japanese prefectures have registered to become host towns.

Their support is claimed to show that the Games are designed to benefit the whole of Japan, rather than just Tokyo as the host city.

As a host town, invitations will be sent to Olympic and Paralympic teams from around the world.

They will invite them to come as guests to the towns, offering the opportunity for locals to host teams at a variety of sporting, cultural and hospitality events.

The initiative is aimed at delivering human, economic and cultural exchanges between the host towns and the countries whose athletes and officials they will be welcoming.

Tokyo 2020 have highlighted the example of Murayama City in the Yamagata Prefecture, which held a training camp for the Bulgarian rhythmic gymnastics team last year.

The host town invited athletes to traditional cultural events, including tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, cherry picking and sampling Japanese dishes.

The athletes also visited schools to interact with children, with public performances held on two occasions.

Several towns are set to host pre-Games training camps, with Olympic and Paralympic teams, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees and city authorities from more than 100 countries and regions having signed up for the program.

The organisations are permitted to partner with more than one host town.

Tokyo 2020 state that the National Government’s Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has also initiated a programme.

Their initiative seeks to encourage host towns in the prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, which were most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The project is aimed at giving the prefectures the opportunity to showcase their recovery to the countries they are hosting.

Exchanges are planned with the rescue teams and volunteers who came to Japan to provide support in the aftermath of the disaster.

A total of 19 countries and regions have partnered with the “Arigato” host towns.

Tokyo 2020 are expecting further countries to join the project, with the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly here seen as an opportunity to boost the number of nations taking part.

More than 1000 delegates from 206 National Olympic Committees will be present for the General Assembly, which will begin today and conclude on Thursday (November 29)

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