As a transport expert,
I create thoughtful
infrastructure that
realizes people's ideals.

Osawa Masaaki

Senior Director of Transport Coordination Department Manager
Transport Bureau
Joined in 2018

Transferred to the organizing committee after working as a city planning consultant and the head of a monorail company. By bringing innovation to the transport system, Osawa not only strives to ensure the success of the Games but is also working to solve challenges that affect Japanese society, such as easing commuter rush periods and reforming working practices.

Developing transport together with the city's people. If transport develops, the city develops. As the president of a monorail company, Osawa helped empower the City of Chiba. In Osawa’s words: 300,000 people began living in the surrounding areas when the monorail opened, so I began thinking what the company could do to gain the support of these people. I brought numerous plans into effect and gained the support of many people. One event that stood out for me was the Ekiden long distance relay race we organized in my final year as president. As the Japanese word for station is “eki”, we proposed a plan for the race to connect all the monorail stations. Unfortunately, our wish to use the actual monorail stations did not come true, but the event was a huge success. At the time it was a challenging endeavour and was widely talked about as a way of revitalizing the area. Have fun and gain support at the same time. Create opportunities that redefine future standards. I always aim to successfully implement strategies that take inspiration from being considered something not widely accepted or commonplace at the time to the blueprint for something people accept as perfectly normal today. Bringing passion to these challenges is my specialty and may even be my true vocation. I think it would feel incredible to accomplish something of this nature that involves the sports that I love. Now four years after idly dreaming about such an opportunity it has become a reality.

My goal is a transport system
that wows the world.

One of Osawa’s missions is to develop a system to serve as the primary means of transport for the athletes and people involved in the Games. He will initiate operation plans for supplying vehicles such a buses and cars (fleet vehicles). This may not sound like tall order, but when you consider the 2000 buses and 4000 fleet vehicles required, the sheer scale makes it a different story all together. The plan also requires continuous 24-hour operation and a system for checking that passengers have reached their destinations, plus making arrangements with stakeholders further adds to the difficulty. In addition to being entrusted with people’s lives, the highly specialized world of sport makes it difficult to ask those involved for their cooperation. While striving to reach an agreement that delivers overall optimization using his recognized professional knowledge and strong leadership skills, Osawa hopes to reduce the burden on those involved as they take on these highly responsible tasks. Coordinating something of this magnitude is quite a formidable undertaking.

However, Osawa feels this tough challenge will provide an opportunity for him to demonstrate his skills. There is no one who knows more about transport infrastructure in Japan. Having acquired knowledge and honed his skills in challenges faced up to now, Osawa considers himself to be the only one capable of creating a transport system that impresses the world and leaves people thinking, “Wow! Is this the level of mastery that Tokyo has reached?” Despite his confidence, however, Osawa acknowledges that he has a huge task ahead. In the future, certain situations may call for cutting-edge technology to be included in the transport system, such as facial recognition and the latest car navigation systems. With the start of the Games drawing ever closer, Osawa vows to calmly find a solution to each problem that arises without letting his feelings take control. While gaining the trust of those around him, he aims to collaborate with a single team that overcomes self-interests and forges ahead toward the success of the Games.

Creating a home where the efforts
of each individual are supported.

Osawa intends to put sincere thought into the transport system he creates to ensure that people connect to it emotionally. This level of care stems from his experience of injecting new energy into the area surrounding the monorail he operated and through successfully executing a plan for regional revitalization that lead to tourists taking trips around the city. He says that a transport system is not limited to the physical transfer process, but also carries with it people’s hopes and expectations. Such a system brings about increased activity, new values and culture. “I also want to bring a sense of connection and warmth that surpasses occupational roles to each Transport Bureau member helping to create this system. Right now, we are hiring a total of around 100 transport specialists to work in each of the sections. They are scheduled to first learn the basics of transport for the Games and then develop understanding of their roles as representatives of the Games who are responsible for the transport in the areas surrounding the venues. I am making it my personal mission to fully support each and every employee to ensure that they can actively and freely participate and develop in their roles.

Being a transport representative is hard. However, we need to avoid overexertion as we are being entrusted with people’s lives. We must ensure we are in good enough shape to maintain focus during normal operations without becoming emotionally or physically overwrought. As the role demands this level of alertness and fitness, I want to provide an environment in which staff members have a safe haven if they suddenly need one and someone they can confide in about matters big or small. Figuratively speaking, a place like home.” Osawa wants to create a warm and welcoming home where everyone’s efforts are supported to sustain their enthusiasm.

Building invisible
emotional infrastructure.

Reforming working practices is something we hear about more often now, but this topic has also become a longstanding goal for Osawa. This may seem unrelated to building a transport system, but Osawa feels that through his current position he can address this social matter as an issue that can be solved.

Controlling the demand for transport is the key to this process. This initiative is known as travel demand management ​and involves asking businesses located in the areas surrounding the Olympic village and sporting venues for their cooperation in easing congestion by controlling the commuter rush periods in order to provide smooth travel for athletes. There are many approaches, such as starting work earlier or implementing telecommuting. However, it is important that those who agree to cooperate do not feel forced into it by creating a system that fosters cooperative spirit.

Then, in the blink of an eye, working practices have also become more diverse due to this initiative. As a result, congestion during commuter rush periods eases, resolving a stressful and troublesome situation and the number of people working comfortably increases. Supplying the catalyst for instigating this change is a goal that Osawa has set himself. Just as the 1964 Tokyo Games triggered the advent of the bullet train, Osawa wants to use the Games to promote rapid progress that leapfrogs over problems and sets new standards. Unlike the bullet train, Osawa’s aims are not obvious on the surface but they are in no way inferior to the bullet train. This emotional infrastructure creates a better future for Japan by moving closer to people’s ideals. Osawa is sprinting towards reform, overcoming any hurdles that stand in his way.

He’s not thinking about the direction his career will take after the Games.
Looking too far ahead might impair his speed and resolve to take on challenges now.
He will give this challenge everything he has got and once it has burnt out
another new project is sure to present itself.

While seeing this global-scale event through, the physical strength to
set aside personal interests and engage emotionally with others
is obviously being trained like never before.
Is there any limit to how far someone with the abilities and character of Osawa could go?

Other members

職員紹介 井上 利彦サムネイル画像

Inoue ToshihikoJoined in 2014, Communications and Engagement Bureau

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

Masakazu SudoJoined in 2017, Sports 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