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INTERVIEW: Hashimoto expects Tokyo Games to cheer up disaster-hit people

  • September 25, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 5:23 p.m.
  • English Press

 Tokyo, Sept. 25 (Jiji Press)–Seiko Hashimoto, minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, has expressed her hope that a successful holding of the Tokyo Games will cheer up people in disaster-afflicted areas across Japan.


In an interview with Jiji Press and other media organizations on Tuesday, Hashimoto stressed the importance of highlighting the quadrennial international sporting events’ roles in making people across the globe know how disaster victims in the country, not only in Tohoku, the northeastern region hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, are achieving their regions’ reconstruction.


“Now that natural disasters occur everywhere, I’d like to have the Tokyo Games send messages that affected people can get hopes and encouragement to move forward from other victims’ efforts for carrying out reconstruction (of their livelihood and communities),” said Hashimoto, who won a bronze medal in speed skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics.


She also noted that measures to protect athletes from summer heat, block infectious diseases and guard against terror attacks should be worked out soon by capitalizing on cutting-edge technologies. Some solutions should contain seeds of legacy to the next generation, she added.


Rebutting criticism that the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics will lead to further concentration of population and industry in Tokyo, Hashimoto said, “The metropolitan government and the organizing committee are well united with local governments to heighten momentum toward the Tokyo Games.”


The use of lumbers from all 47 prefectures in the country to build the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Summer Games, is a good example of “all-Japan” participation in preparation for the events, according to her.


As for the fact that only two women are currently serving as cabinet ministers, Hashimoto said she is aware of opinions that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should have brought more women in his new team.


“In the world of politics, I see the need to change the way of thinking (to realize gender equality),” she said. “Each political party should endeavor to create an environment where women can be positive about entering politics.”

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