GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – Traditional paper cranes and some of the latest technology are on offer as Japan seeks to promote itself as the host of the next Olympic Games in 2020, with organizers hoping to inherit the enthusiasm and fervor of Pyeongchang 2018 hosts.
Tokyo will host the Summer Games for the second time, following the tremendously successful 1964 Olympics, and organizers have brought a large delegation to Pyeongchang to learn how to host them successfully.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also arrive in South Korea on Friday to attend the opening ceremony.
But on Thursday it was all about introducing the fun side of Japan at Tokyo 2020 Japan House, which opens to the public as the games officially get going on Friday.
On offer were cameras allowing visitors to imprint their face on paper used to make traditional folded cranes and others that create life-size avatars that then romp through typical Tokyo street scenes on a huge screen.
“We will see an unprecedented run of three consecutive Olympics in Asia — Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo in 2020 and Beijing in 2022 — a chance for all Asia to cooperate to make these fun,” said Yukihiro Nunomura, chief operating officer at Tokyo 2020.
“Pyeongchang will start this off and we expect this to be a huge success and that this baton can then be passed to Tokyo, so we inherit their enthusiasm and fervor.”
The Tokyo 2020 Games will be Japan’s fourth run at the Olympics. Besides Tokyo in 1964, it has hosted the Winter Games twice — Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.
Tokyo planners have struggled with surging costs and construction delays, especially with the new National Stadium, but the International Olympic Committee has repeatedly said it is pleased with how preparations are going.