The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will hold training seminars in February for volunteers interested in providing language assistance to visitors during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
“We’d like to send Tokyo’s spirit of hospitality to the world with these volunteers, who will communicate in English with foreign tourists to help navigate the town,” Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe said at a news conference.
By 2020, the metro government aims to have 35,000 registered language volunteers.
The trial seminars, which consist of lectures on the basics of volunteering and hospitality as well as the English language, will be open to 60 people free of charge. They will be held at three sites in the cities of Hachioji and Koganei, as well as in Minato Ward.
Those who wish to attend must apply by Tuesday and be residents, students or workers in Tokyo who are 18 or older, according to the metro government.
After receiving feedback on the curriculum and course materials, the metro government plans to start holding the course on a larger scale when fiscal 2015 begins in April, according to Katsumi Watanabe, a section chief with the metro government’s citizens and cultural affairs bureau.
“We will hold such seminars at various locations in Tokyo and call for participation from as many people as possible,” Watanabe told The Japan Times on Thursday.
At the seminars, the would-be volunteers will attend lectures on cross-cultural differences and other topics to help them better communicate with foreigners.
They will also take English classes, using textbooks and role-playing to acquire basic conversation skills so they can relay directions to the Olympic venues or other places.
Those who complete the course will be registered as one of the anticipated 35,000 volunteers, Watanabe said.
“We’d like volunteers in their daily lives to spontaneously help foreigners who are in trouble,” Watanabe said.