It will definitely be a wonderful experience. We would like to see everyone – young and old alike, men and women alike – raise their hands to serve as volunteers.
The recruitment of volunteers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games opens on Sept. 26.
Some 110,000 volunteers are needed, as the organizing committee aims to secure 80,000 “Games volunteers” and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government seeks to recruit 30,000 “city volunteers.”
Volunteers are key players in the Games. It is no exaggeration to say that the smiles of the volunteers will decide the success of the Games.
The Games were brought to Tokyo on the promise of “omotenashi,” or hospitality. Each and every volunteer has a part to play in making the Games a success.
The joy of joining hands with athletes and tourists from around the world and creating Olympic and Paralympic Games will be an irreplaceable experience.
The Games will take place amid fierce heat, and the volunteers will handle a wide range of work. The volunteers will have to cover some expenses, and the work is demanding by nature. Nonetheless, the volunteers stand to gain even more. People who believe this will volunteer at their own initiative. That is what a volunteer is.
We would like to see universities and companies show consideration to those who want to participate so they are not disadvantaged. It is natural for the government to back this.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Sports Agency issued a directive requesting national, public, and private universities and technical colleges to be flexible in the scheduling of classes and exams to make it easy for students to volunteer. This has provoked a backlash. Some media outlets have featured pundits who call the recruitment “nothing other than forced mobilization” while on the Internet the recruitment drive is being criticized as “an exploitation of enthusiasm.”
This criticism is uncalled for.
The government is not forcing people to volunteer. It is doing nothing more than asking for adjustments to be made so that there is nothing blocking volunteer participation and people are not deprived of the experience of participating in the Olympics. Rather, it would be a problem if the government took no action.
When Japan and South Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2002, the athletes, reporters, and fans were astonished by the kindness shown them by the Japanese people no matter where they went in Japan. After the tournament, various happy encounters were covered by media outlets around the world.
Volunteers are not the only ones that make a sporting event special. Everyone supports the event in their own way. We would like that to be the case for the Tokyo Games, too.