Japan Unites to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Games

Japan came together today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Games. On this day, 50 years ago, the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XVIII Olympiad took place. The legacy of the Games is still palpable in present-day Tokyo and stories of the 1964 Games are still cherished by the population.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee has also marked this special day by organising several events to commemorate the 1964 Games, and will utilise these celebrations to build continuous momentum toward the 2020 Games.

"Today is exactly 50 years since the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 1964 Games. On this auspicious occasion, I am delighted to be able to share the fond memories we all have of the 1964 Games, and build up the momentum towards the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 1964 Games changed Japan. And our 'All Japan' team is currently working hard to ensure we deliver a Games that will prompt future generations to look back and say, 'In 2020, the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games really served to inspire the world,'" said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori.

The festivities brought together the whole city, with many exhibitions opening this week to share the Olympic passion, including one hosted by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) showcasing medals, the Olympic torch, posters and other memorabilia from the 1964 Games.

The JOC also extended its invitation to join the celebration events to the entire Olympic Family. Several 1964 Olympians, International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and representatives from National Olympic Committees and International Federations were also present in Tokyo on this very special day.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to reiterate my deepest respect and admiration to all those who contributed to the success of the Tokyo 1964 Games, and of course to all the athletes here today who competed at the Games, performed to the peak of their abilities, and left us with such wonderful memories. It is my earnest wish that today's celebrations will further contribute to the promotion of the Olympic Movement, to the enhancement of exchanges and mutual understanding between peoples and nations, and to peace throughout the world."

The 1964 Games memories and the hopes for the 2020 Games are closely connected. While the JOC organised discussions sessions featuring 1964 Olympians and Paralympians which were open for members of the general public to attend, as well as an official reception for the Olympic Family, Tokyo 2020 presented an outline of its refined vision for the Games while the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission and Advisory Meeting held their inaugural meetings.

In a video message, John Coates, IOC Vice President and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad - Tokyo 2020, addressed the Tokyo 2020 Advisors: "Fifty years ago today, the first Olympic Games to be held in Asia opened in Tokyo. Japan had extended an invitation to the world's best athletes to come and compete. That invitation was accepted and both the athletes and Japan benefitted greatly from Tokyo 1964. The athletes gave their very best, won medals, broke records and inspired a generation of young people to take up sports, while Japan re-emerged onto the global stage, showing its organisational abilities, its welcoming face, and left a legacy from those Games that has served the people of Tokyo for five decades. I hope that in 2070 the next generation will be able to celebrate the achievements and legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games, as much as we have been able to do with the Games in 1964."

To ensure the achievements of a rich legacy for the city and its citizens, the organising committee will lean on a strong and clear vision. Based on the bid's Discover Tomorrow commitment, an outline of the vision was presented today.

Entitled "Sport has the power to change the world and the future. Japan changed in 1964. Let's inspire the world in 2020," it is based on three main pillars:

– Let everyone achieve his/her best
Just like athletes, everyone should try and aim for their own best whatever field they are engaged in whether it is hospitality, technology or other fields. Let's perform to the absolute peak of our abilities and make the Tokyo 2020 Games one of the most innovative in history.

– Let everyone accept each other as they are
Everyone accepting each other irrespective of gender, race or religion.
Embrace diversity, bring about positive change for everyone, and contribute to the creation of a fair and equitable world.

– Let us pass it on to the future
Believe in the future and connect to the next generation. Pass on the changes brought about by the Tokyo 2020 Games as a legacy to future generations.

The finalised vision for the Tokyo 2020 Games will be laid out in the Games Foundation Plan, which will be submitted to the IOC in February 2015.
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Olympians, Paralympians and young athletes shared their hopes for Tokyo 2020 with President Mori

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1964 Olympians from around the world commemorated the Games of Tokyo together