I hope Japan’s pride of
hosting the 2020 Games
becomes a legacy
for the future

Inoue Toshihiko

Senior Manager of the PR Planning Team,
Communications Section, Communications and Engagement Department, Communications and Engagement Bureau
Joined in 2014

Inoue joined the team from a PR firm. As an all-rounder, he is doing his best to ensure the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020 Games) using all of his skills. He explains that at work as well as in private, his aim is to build relationships that exceed the scope of work through parties and other events.

When “Tokyo!” was declared as the winner, the floor shook as cheers filled the entire hall. On 7 September 2013 during the IOC Session held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Tokyo has been selected as the host city of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As an employee of a PR firm that worked closely with the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) on the bidding activities, Inoue was in that very hall when the winner was announced. He hugged his colleagues and quietly wept.
He thought of the emotions that he felt during the London 2012 Games. The vivid memory of what he saw and experienced would now become a reality in Tokyo that would be shared with the entire nation of Japan.

To challenge, change and grow as a person in an unprecedented environment

Soon after Tokyo was announced as the host city, Inoue decided to leave the PR firm and join the organising committee. The deciding factor was the emotion he felt at the London 2012 Games. The Olympic and Paralympic Games have the power to unite the host country and also the world. Inoue’s ambition is to make what he saw personally in London happen in Tokyo.

Working in PR, Inoue has a variety of missions. In addition to the obvious aspects of planning and drafting ideas to shape the general PR policy, information must be disseminated to improve internal cooperation, and relationships and coordination must be managed with the national and local governments, sponsors and advertising agencies. In all these aspects, the message and information to be communicated and how they are expressed become crucial.

“I utilise the skills honed during my time working at advertising agencies and PR firms. I used to have an inferiority complex regarding what I saw as my weaknesses. However, now I feel that I’m able to take advantage of my wide array of knowledge about media, events, the web and sports, as well as my experience dealing with corporate culture and co-working with people with a variety of interests.”

However, this is not a workplace where you can rely on past successes alone. Since there are no precedents, everyone must be flexible and be prepared for the next challenge. We are aiming for a performance that can bring a positive change for Japan and for the world. There is no other situation where such self-improvement can be attained.

How high can Inoue reach by combining his previous experiences with the overwhelming opportunity for growth that is Tokyo 2020? Four years have passed since joining the team, and Inoue’s inferiority complex had, without him noticing, changed into a sense of self-expectation.

Let’s create a story that touches everyone’s heart

Inoue has a purpose. That is to never forget for whom and why he is undertaking this project. “When creating PR policies or managing relationships with various bodies, the harder the task is, the easier it is to mistake completion as the end goal. However, our aim is for the Tokyo 2020 Games to engage with Japanese people as much as possible. We want for the Tokyo 2020 Games to connect with each individual, and for everyone to experience the true appeal of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as it takes over our lives and country in a positive way. For example, when we were deciding on the mascots, we asked elementary school students from all over Japan to vote. Also, we coordinated with related bodies to make sure that the timing of the announcement coincided with the students’ lunch break so they could watch it live on TV. We sent each school a thank you letter for their participation, and we hope that those children will look back in 10 or 20 years’ time and realise that they took part in the preparation of the Games. Our aim is to polish our initiatives so that they touch people’s hearts and remains in their memories.”

With this purpose in mind, Inoue had a moving experience when he was explaining about volunteering activities to 300 college students. “At the end of the session, one student wrote a comment in the questionnaire: ‘I was undecided, but after hearing your talk I decided to take part. This might be a life-changing thing for me.’ It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wanted the students to learn something from volunteering and use it in their future. I was so happy that the student was able to understand that.”
Inoue wants to talk to as many people as possible about finding their own way of taking part in the Tokyo 2020 Games. It’s about each person creating their own story of the Games. How do we help people create their stories and how do we improve engagement? In a world full of limitations, what is required is to communicate the message and the feeling of celebration. There will be infinite obstacles. The skills of the PR staff are constantly being tested.

Believing that six years of hard work will form a foundation for the future

Inoue firmly believes that the Tokyo 2020 Games will be an event that does not end after one month. He sees it as a chance to shape Japan’s future. He explains, “The things we accomplish here and the challenges we overcome will become assets for Japan. For example, with the Tokyo 2020 Games I want Japanese people to feel proud that they were born in Japan. Also, I want to see adults taking on global-scale projects andworking with the younger generation to implement them to create a brighter future for Japan. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase Japan and for Japanese people to demonstrate their excellent qualities.”

Specialists from a variety of fields are building a network of trust with the common goal of making the Tokyo 2020 Games a success. As volunteers, students will get to meet guests from all over the world. Many Japanese people will reflect on their own identity while watching the opening and closing ceremonies. The Tokyo 2020 Games have all the elements to unite the whole of Japan. Inoue will be at the frontline in order to optimise this potential. The work of Inoue and the Communications and Engagement Bureau started when Tokyo was selected to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Inoue says he can’t picture his life after the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“How much will I grow after being part of such an incredible opportunity that has so much impact?
What kind of legacy will I be able to leave for Japan with what I’ve gained?
I will test my limits with the idea that everything connects to the future.
Right now, that’s what I’m focusing on.”

Other members

職員紹介 谷尾 亜実サムネイル画像

Tanio AmiJoined in 2018, Technology Services Bureau

職員紹介 須藤 正和サムネイル画像

Sudo MasakazuJoined in 2017, Sports Bureau

職員紹介 井上 利彦サムネイル画像

Osawa MasaakiJoined in 2018, Transport Bureau

職員紹介 谷尾 亜実サムネイル画像

Bamba MichiyoJoined in 2019, Games Delivery Office

職員紹介 須藤 正和サムネイル画像

Li JasmineJoined in 2016, International Bureau