Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a meeting of Olympics and Paralympics host towns in Tokyo in June. Photo: KYODO

Over 30% of Tokyo Olympic participating nations lack host towns


Over a third of the 207 countries and regions that will be sending athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics still do not have host towns to welcome them, a government tally shows.

Under the government's host town initiative, local residents will interact with overseas Olympians and Paralympians through activities before and after the games to deepen understanding, a program unique to Japan.

As of July 29, 416 municipalities had been registered as host towns for 136 countries and regions.

The central government, which will offer subsidies for exchange activities, is trying to encourage municipalities to apply to become host towns for the remaining 71 countries and regions participating at the upcoming Summer Games.

The program has been modeled after a government initiative that linked schools and overseas teams at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.

To become a host town, a municipal government must register with the central government which participating country or region it is interested in having exchanges with.

Taiwan is the most popular, with more than 20 municipalities registered as its hosts. One country or region can have multiple municipalities as hosts because each registration is linked to an Olympic or Paralympic sport.

On the other hand, many African, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries do not have hosts yet. Efforts to create ties have been hampered as some of the countries do not have embassies in Tokyo.

"We have created points of contact (between the overseas countries and regions and) local municipalities through JICA and embassies in Tokyo but there are limits," said an official at the Cabinet Secretariat's office for promoting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is a government-linked aid agency that has connections with developing countries.

The central government is hoping to promote the host town initiative to African nations during the three-day Tokyo International Conference on African Development to be held in Yokohama, southwest of the capital, from Aug 28.

Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki is expected to engage in outreach during related events.

"We would like to connect as many nations and Japanese municipalities as possible to leave opportunities for further exchanges as a legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics," said Mie Katsuno, an official in charge of planning and implementing the host town initiative.


©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I hope they find cities for all the countries and it doesn't end up being "the last kids chosen" at a basketball game in school kind of thing. I can understand why some nations might be more popular than others, but come on, omotenasu culture!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Good post,Smith.

Love the photo as well.

Isn't Tokyo 2020's Olympic motto about diversity?

In the picture I can only see Abe and other oyaji.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Time to step out of the "comfort zone."

12 ( +13 / -1 )

As a major country, Japan is more likely to have representation in the countries so why are the diplomatic service and the Japanese Olympic committee not working together in those countries to facilitate this initiative?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Lol, almost as funny as the G20 meeting where nobody even acknowledged Abe

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Given rents in Tokyo and the level of importance Japan has traditionally attached to relations with developing countries that aren't potential markets, it's not surprising.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

expat: "Given rents in Tokyo and the level of importance Japan has traditionally attached to relations with developing countries that aren't potential markets, it's not surprising."

Not sure what rent has to do with it. Japan has a lot of sister-city ties, and those towns should be champing at the bit to take on the host countries if no one has yet. Japan has thrown millions in "aid" at African countries for votes at the IWC to support it, but now it is silence when it comes to those countries getting sponsors here.

If I could, I'd welcome a nation myself, but it takes more than just one person. There has got to be a hotline for this kind of thing where people can volunteer, beyond calling the local city halls. If they won't do it, we should. They'll take the credit once things are in order, but oh well.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I too, hope there's enough room for everyone at the Olympic table....because ..even those from the other side of the track will come, and Japan, being the gracious hosts will play such.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Are there any host towns in Fukushima? After all, the Olympics were touted as something to help that prefecture.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is one disaster after another. Carry on though. Nothing to see here.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

If they won't do it, we should.

If we can give suggestion : since Sakai just make it in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, what about they do partnership with some country know for there old place :

Same for Hashimoto (near Koyasan) or other less internationally know area which have old place. In the long run, that can be worth it.

I am pretty sure big and/or famous cities already jumped on "big" countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

C’mon Japan let’s get international!!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very nice. Hopefully everyone has a host to warm their soul.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Are there any host towns in Fukushima?

Yes, but I doubt Olympic athletes would bother visiting them.

Kitakata City Fukushima United States of America

Minamisoma City Fukushima Djibouti, Taiwan, United States of America, South Korea

Date City Fukushima Gayana

Motomiya City Fukushima United Kingdom

Kitashiobara Village Fukushima Taiwan

Iitate Village Fukushima Laos

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bet no one's jumping to take on North Korea

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This shows the Olympic 2020 was decided without strong support of citizens.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kitakata City Fukushima United States of America, Minamisoma City Fukushima Djibouti, Taiwan, United States of America, South Korea, Date City Fukushima Gayana, Motomiya City Fukushima United Kingdom

Kitashiobara Village Fukushima Taiwan, Iitate Village Fukushima Laos

FYI No. 1 the link doesnt work, and FYI No 2. these are not "towns" these are countries!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can understand why some nations might be more popular than others, but come on, omotenasu culture!

"Omoteinashi" works between Japanese people and even then for a limited time only! People here bought into that "image" thanks to getting the games in the first place, and liking to jump on the bandwagon and associate themselves with it.

It doesnt count when it comes to foreigners!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Two quick points.

First 1/3 of 207 is 68. That is not a large number.

Second, Japan is the only Olympic host country that has such a program. The UK, Australia, China did not even try have such a program.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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