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WTM news: Japan is gearing up for Olympics and Paralympics 2020 visitors

Japan is getting ready for the influx of visitors expected for next year's Olympics and Paralympics with extensive infrastructure improvements.

At the Japan National Tourism Organization's (JNTO) WTM event, held last night at Japan House, Matthew Joslin, marketing and communications manager for JNTO in London, gave a presentation on how the country is making preparations for next year's major sporting events.

"Japan last hosted the Olympics in 1964," Mr Joslin told the event before he outlined how new infrastructure is being created as well as upgrading facilities which were built for the 1964 games. In particular, WiFi access throughout Japan is being upgraded, renewable energy is being used widely at Olympic locations, and the westbound bullet train is being updated with lighter, quieter, more fuel-efficient trains. For improved air connectivity, Tokyo's Haneda airport has been upgraded, including the expansion of Terminal 2, which is now welcoming international as well as domestic flights.

"The Rugby World Cup was good preparation for the 2020 Olympics," Mr Joslin said.

In Tokyo, the Instagram favourite, Shibuya crossing area has been upgraded with new shops, restaurants and an interactive art experience. The Meiji Shinto shrine will be marking its 150th anniversary next year and Olympics stadium architect Kengo Kuma has been involved in the creation of a museum to raise awareness of the indigenous Japanese national religion.  

Diversity is another focus of Japan's Olympic and Paralympic preparations for visitors. This includes a LGBT pride event, and the use of robots to serve and assist tourists will become widespread. These robots are operated remotely by disabled people thus creating employment for people who cannot easily travel to traditional workplaces. Special buggies will be rolled out to help transport people with mobility issues.

 


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