We have finally reached the year of the Rugby World Cup, and the Tokyo 2020 Games are fast approaching next year. To deliver events that meet the world’s expectations and link this to Tokyo’s further evolution, we will vigorously push forward with final preparations.
Excitement is definitely building for Rugby World Cup 2019TM. In advanced ticket sales, which started last month, tickets for team Japan matches and the championship match sold out immediately. To fully maximize momentum for the tournament, we will focus efforts on implementing a wide variety of promotional events, including decorating areas around match venues, shopping arcades, and other locations with banners, and holding 100-days-to-go countdown events.
During the tournament, we will set up “fanzones” in both the special-ward and Tama areas which will feature attractions such as public viewing of matches and booths promoting Tokyo. I want to make the tournament enjoyable and exciting for all by welcoming visitors from Japan and abroad, raising excitement for the matches, and creating an atmosphere that lasts even after the matches have ended.
Regarding the Tokyo 2020 Games, this month, we completed construction of the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, and the other venues will follow back-to-back. As test events for the Games also start in earnest, we will steadily advance initiatives for smooth Games operations, including safety measures on the “last mile” from stations nearest to the venue to the venue itself.
This summer will be our final chance to raise the effectiveness of measures to combat the heat for the Games. We will advance testing and verification of measures at test events, including advanced technologies, such as fine mist, and familiar items used to combat the heat, such as fans and hats. We will also continue advancing the installation of solar heat-blocking pavement on roads, mainly in central Tokyo and along roads to be used as event courses.
In addition, we will thoroughly advance the many aspects of Games preparations, including the management of city volunteers, for which the name City Cast was chosen and over 36,000 applications were received in response to the call for about 20,000 volunteers, and studies on the routes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games torch relays, which will pass through all of Tokyo’s 62 municipalities, including the islands.
With an eye to hosting the Games and the graying of the population which will further progress in the years to follow, we will speed up measures to make lodging facilities barrier free. With respect to the metropolitan barrier-free ordinance that applies to buildings, Tokyo has stipulated standards surpassing those set by the central government, and while supporting initiatives undertaken by businesses through a system of subsidies, we have facilitated the creation of guest rooms for wheelchair users at lodging facilities. This time we have proposed an amendment that covers facilities measuring 1,000 square meters or larger to be newly constructed or undergoing expansion. The amended ordinance is the first in Japan to also require elimination of steps in regular guest rooms and to establish standards to be followed for the width of doorways to guest rooms. The amendment also specifies standards for the width of doorways to areas such as bathrooms as an obligation that facilities should endeavor to fulfill. Through efforts such as expanding subsidies for businesses, sending out consultants, and disseminating more information on the barrier-free accessibility of facilities, we will, with the cooperation of the private sector, establish a lodging environment that is more accessible for all, including wheelchair users.
In addition to advancing the removal of difference in height between sidewalks and roads, the installation of platform doors and elevators at railway stations, and conversion of Japanese-style toilets to Western-style, we will introduce space to support child rearing on some Toei Subway Oedo Line cars, which can be conveniently used with peace of mind by passengers traveling with small children. Through a variety of initiatives, I hope to realize a city where anyone can enjoy a comfortable stay and get around smoothly, and also show the world the style of a sophisticated city.
To create momentum to steer the Tokyo 2020 Games to success together with the people of Tokyo and Japan, next month, in front of Tokyo Station, we will hold a Tokyo 2020 500-days-to-go event, as well as an event to mark completion of the nationwide Olympic and Paralympic Flag Tour. With official ticket sales for the Olympics to start in the spring and the Paralympics in the summer, next fiscal year we will continue to raise a sense of unity for the Games through all-Japan efforts, including jointly promoting the Games with other prefectures.
A record of how Tokyo evolved through Games preparations, the atmosphere of elation during the Games, and other aspects of the Games will be a valuable historical asset for Tokyo. As the host city, we will produce a documentary film, and along with disseminating it to the world, I hope to pass the story down to future generations.
Concerning Olympic and Paralympic education, which will leave an important legacy in the hearts of children, we will further expand the number of schools cheering on Paralympic sports. In addition, we will broaden understanding with respect to para sports and toward individuals with impairments even more by promoting exchange among children through sports such as Boccia. We will also work to further enhance the content of the educational program in the area of culture as well by promoting participation in the Tokyo Tokyo Festival -- the cultural program of the Games -- and raising children’s interest in the arts, among other means.