This coming September 20th, the eyes of the world will be fixed on Tokyo when the long-awaited Rugby World Cup 2019™ kicks off here. The tournament is not only expected to bring around 500,000 spectators from overseas, but also have an estimated worldwide broadcast audience of 4 billion. Ever since Rugby 7s (sevens) was added to the official program for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, rugby fever has been heating up around the globe, including rapid growth of the worldwide rugby-playing population. Against this backdrop, the 12 host cities across Japan are uniting to lead the world championship tournament, which is also capturing attention as the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia, to success. Along with further raising Japan’s presence on the world stage, this will also contribute to achieving a successful Tokyo 2020 Games, now less than a year away, through all-Japan efforts.
Taking the opportunity presented by this World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Games, how will we transform Tokyo? Let me give a few examples. By further enhancing and widely promoting Tokyo’s diverse appeal, we will realize a global city that constantly attracts people, goods, money, and information from around the world. We will firmly establish “Smooth Biz” initiatives such as telework and staggered commuting hours as the new normal and create a highly productive society where it is easy to work. Furthermore, by promoting barrier-free improvements and instilling a culture of volunteerism, we will create a city full of vitality where everyone can feel kindness as they lead a vibrant life in a society where people live longer -- a society that is also called the “era of the 100-year life.” It is not an exaggeration to say that leaving such a legacy is absolutely essential to the further evolution of Tokyo into a city that strikes a balance between growth, which strongly drives the prosperity of our country in the midst of increasingly intense international competition, and maturity, which enables everyone to live fuller lives with peace of mind. The two international events that we are to host at this start of the Reiwa era provide the greatest and the final chance to build a foundation for Tokyo to continue evolving in the times that lie ahead as population decline and aging advance even more. With renewed awareness of such hopes for Tokyo’s future, in addition to absolutely ensuring the success of both events, we will steadily advance initiatives for creating an outstanding legacy.