Tokyo 2020 Celebrates Opening of Tokyo's Latest Futuristic Skyscraper with Passionate Fans

Olympic heroes and members of the Tokyo 2020 Bid today gathered during the gala launch of a futuristic skyscraper in Tokyo in hopes for their capital to become a Candidate City. Enthusiastic sport fans attended the event and met numerous Olympians, who happily posed for photos in a further display of the Japanese sport community's strong backing of Tokyo 2020. Many fans expressed their wishes to make the short list of Candidate Cities, while providing their enthusiastic support for Tokyo 2020 in hand-written message cards shaped like cherry blossoms, Japan's most celebrated blossom and the pattern of the Tokyo 2020 logo.

Ai Shibata said: "I wrote 'unite all voices in Japan as one. Let's aim for Tokyo Olympics!' in the message card. When I was still an athlete I was focusing on my preparation for the Olympics, and had no idea how the event was actually organised. Following my retirement, as I got involved in various activities, I learned how important the support of the host city's people is. Of course there are many factors that play a role in the Olympics, such as the athlete village for instance, but the most important thing is how enthusiastic the people are. I would like for Japan to unite as one in spreading our common goal to host the Olympics once again, with the aid of not only Tokyo citizens but from people all across Japan."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will announce its short list of Candidate Cities to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the IOC press conference in Québec City.

The key milestone will take place exactly on May 24 at 7:30 AM (Tokyo time).

The glistening commercial tower, named Shibuya Hikarie, is designed to become Tokyo's newest hub for shopping, dining, culture, entertainment and business. It counts 34 floors, nearly 200 shops, 26 eateries, design and art galleries, office floors and a musical theatre with 2,000 seats. Situated in Shibuya, a world-famous entertainment focal point for young people, Hikarie is symbolising the advanced infrastructure and technology that underpin Tokyo 2020's dynamic plan to stage Games of excitement and excellence.

Olympians were very impressed by the spectacular building. Among them were Ai Shibata, Japan's first-ever female swimming freestyle gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games; Junichi Miyashita, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Aquatics Swimming Olympian; Mikako Kotani, Seoul 2002 Olympic Games bronze medallist in synchronised swimming; Kana Oyama, Athens 2004 Olympic Games Volleyball Olympian; and three-time consecutive Speed Skating Olympian Ikue Teshigawara.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Masato Mizuno commented: "Public interest and support for Tokyo 2020 is increasing every single day. The entire country is anticipating IOC's decision, hoping Tokyo's technical excellence would be recognised, allowing itself to be chosen as a Candidate City. Yesterday was exactly 500-days before the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games host city's selection, and as a result we believe the opening of Tokyo's new landmark is a great opportunity to celebrate this. Hikarie is a perfect example of Tokyo's renowned passion for innovation, and I also wish this fabulous building to work as our new lucky charm."

The stunning glass structure was a fitting site for the event, but it's only the latest example of Tokyo's tireless pace of renewal and reinvention. In just the first half of this year, Japan's vibrant capital has already christened Tokyo Gate Bridge, a state-of-the-art truss bridge spanning northern Tokyo Bay, and in May will officially open the spectacular Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's largest tower at 634 metres.
Image of the event

From left to right: Ai Shibata, Junichi Miyashita, Mikako Kotani, Kana Oyama, Ikue Teshigawara