This summer, the Japanese archipelago overflowed with emotion and excitement over the superb performances of the Japanese athletes at Rio de Janeiro; they won 41 medals at the Olympic Games, the most ever won by Japan, and 24 medals at the Paralympic Games.
I also traveled to Rio as the leader of the next host city. And, with the whole world watching, I received the Olympic and Paralympic flags from Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. Now that we have both flags, I truly feel the weight of responsibility that comes with it now being Tokyo's turn to host the Games, as well as the thrill of ensuring that the Games are a spectacular event. We will take the flags on a nationwide tour starting with every municipality in Tokyo, beginning from Ogasawara Village, and the three prefectures most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. I look forward to sharing this excitement with all of Japan.
In Rio, I inspected Games venues, public safety measures, transportation infrastructure, and other aspects of the Games. The materials from a temporary facility are scheduled to be recycled for use in constructing elementary schools after the Games. This truly embodies the 3R concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Referring to such examples, we will incorporate the mottainai concept (a Japanese tradition of respecting and not wasting resources) into the Tokyo 2020 Games. I hope to make mottainai known around the world as a word that symbolizes Tokyo and Japan.
In addition, by actually watching the competitions, I was able to keenly feel that the amazing performances of the athletes are why we are so moved by the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Focusing on "athletes first," we will advance preparations to provide an environment that enables athletes to concentrate on their sport, and for enthusiasm and excitement throughout Tokyo to support the powerful performances of the athletes.
We must also firmly ensure the safety and security of the Games. There were no incidents of terrorism at the Rio Games, and this is certainly worth praising. Meanwhile, bombing incidents occurred in the center of New York City and nearby areas just the other day, with reports citing the possible influence of international terrorist organizations. In this way, the international terrorism situation is becoming increasingly challenging. While working closely with the national government, we will continue to take all possible steps to strengthen counterterrorism measures, respond to cyber threats, and bolster public security infrastructure, among others.
The Tokyo 1964 Games showed Japan's rapid development and economic growth to the world. On a black and white television at my elementary school, I remember watching Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila raise his arms high in the air like this when he crossed the finish line and won the gold medal in the Marathon. This scene is unforgettable to me even today. Japan's population, as well as its economy, were growing at the time. It was an era when the exchange rate was 360 yen to the U.S. dollar. Tokyo's infrastructure today, such as the metropolitan expressways and Shinkansen high-speed railway line, was built by a loan from the World Bank, which Japan completed repayment of in 1990. Reflecting on all of this makes you realize how much times have changed.
The Tokyo 2020 Games will not be a simple rerun of 1964. We must make the 2020 Games an event that promotes our city as T-O-K-Y-O, a Tokyo that has matured and is at the global cutting-edge. We will build not only tangible legacies, but also intangible legacies. I hope to show the world both Tokyo and TOKYO, and make these Games memorable not only for our residents and the citizens of Japan, but also the entire world.
Taking into account the knowledge gained from our visit to the Rio Games, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to make the Tokyo 2020 Games a success. Regarding the issues at hand, such as the development and construction of facilities and costs associated with hosting the Games, I hope to obtain the understanding of all Tokyo residents, the taxpayers, by working closely with the central government and the organising committee to find solutions while also ensuring accountability. Tomorrow, September 29, the Olympic and Paralympic Team of the Office of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Reform will announce the results of its analysis of the planned venues for each sport, including projections for post-Games venue usage. This is an objective analysis to ensure that the legacies created by the Games will not become negative legacies.
Excitement created by the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan will also surely enhance momentum for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Backed by the strong and sincere support of the people of Tokyo, I hope to lead these two events to certain success.
Throughout this process, we will transform Tokyo in every conceivable area, including the environment, urban development, industry, tourism, sports, and culture, and raise the quality of life for the residents of Tokyo and achieve sustainable growth. Only by leaving such tangible and intangible legacies can we say that the Games were truly successful for us.
We must also return to the original goal of these Games -- to demonstrate and support recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The success of these Games is impossible without the recovery of the areas affected by the disaster. I hope to devise a range of ways to strongly convey the progress of the affected areas.
In addition, I believe that Tokyo 2020 cannot be a success without the success of the Paralympic Games. Building excitement for the Paralympic Games is exactly what will spread the Olympic and Paralympic values of accepting diversity and forming connections that transcend all kinds of differences. I hope to also advance urban development incorporating universal design that is friendly to senior citizens and the disabled, and make major strides toward realizing a "diverse city."
I also believe that the tobacco-free policy advocated by the IOC is a very important one. Although the central government is examining ways to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, we will also advance measures in Tokyo as part of our responsibility as the host city and from the perspective of promoting the health of the people of Tokyo.