Tokyo 2020: a commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Since Tokyo was chosen to organise the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a clear commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) was made. The Tokyo 2020 Games will be a great opportunity to embrace diversity and welcome people from all around the world and different walks of life.

Under the tagline “Know Differences, Show Differences”, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is positioning D&I as an indispensable element of achieving the Tokyo 2020 Games Vision.

Accordingly, D&I is being incorporated into all aspects of Games planning and operations as the driver for their success.

For all these reasons, the organising committee has a department dedicated to promoting D&I. The leader of this department is Yoshimura Mikiko.

Yoshimura Mikiko is the head of D&I at Tokyo 2020

“As an island country, Japan is not very diverse. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a good opportunity to embrace diversity. We want to use the Games to promote diversity in the country. And this starts inside the same organisation”, she explains.

Tokyo 2020 leads Japan when it comes to the diversity of the organization. The Japanese employees come from more than 370 different companies. They were assigned to work in the organisation of the Games and later, when the Games are over, they will return to their original positions in places like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) or private companies like Toyota, Panasonic or Bridgestone.

As of January 2020, Tokyo 2020 employs staff from 28 different countries.

“I think our organisation is the most diverse in Japan with people coming from many different companies including all the people from different countries who also work here.”

“For many Japanese employees, this is their first time working with so many foreigners. Working in an international environment is another way to get ready for the Games. Our employees can learn a lot from this international environment and take this knowledge with them once the Games are over,” she points out.

Show the differences

Tokyo 2020 wants to deliver an all-inclusive Games that everyone can enjoy

Different people with diverse needs will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games as spectators, athletes, staff and stakeholders. In this context, the organisers want to encourage people to “demonstrate their difference”.

“We will welcome everyone equally and accept all people regardless of age, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, religious beliefs or intellectual or physical impairment,” Yoshimura explains.

Tokyo 2020 is already working to increase awareness and support toward D&I on a daily basis not only during Games-time.

Staff members with impairments are invited to speak at training sessions, where they share their experience, the physical barriers and challenges they face and how they approach D&I in the organisation.

Two participants form a pair; one uses a wheelchair while the other provides support in one of the workshops

Tokyo 2020 has also organised different workplace initiatives for LGBT and other sexual minorities. Previous D&I training sessions for all new staff included discussions on LGBT issues, as well as various initiatives aimed at further deepening the understanding of staff on related issues. Now, all new staff members have the option to take D&I courses online.

“We live in a world that is diverse, rather than homogenous, and the differences among us span wide-ranging areas, from race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, level of ability or other status. Readily accepting these differences and respecting one another allows peace to be maintained and society to continue to develop and flourish. This is the essence of the Olympic and Paralympic values, and there is no doubt that sport has the power to help achieve this goal.”

Yoshimura is convinced that Olympic and Paralympic Games have great power to change attitudes. She hopes Tokyo 2020 will bring positive reform to Japan and the world.

“I hope our Games become an opportunity for influencing Japanese society. We want the concept of D&I to take root in Japan as a legacy after the dissolution of the Tokyo 2020 organisation. I wish Tokyo 2020 to be an opportunity and driving power of promoting D&I among Japanese citizens and around the world.”

Tokyo 2020 staff members attending a workshop about D&I

Related Links

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)
Diversity & Inclusion assistance training
Understanding LGBT through the Human Library