Ahlan wa sahlan to Tokyo
As governor of Tokyo I would like to wish you all a wonderful New Year. At the start of 2020, I am very happy to be able to contribute to Arab News.
I first got acquainted with the Middle East when I studied in Cairo during the 1970s, for five years. It was a deeply enriching experience that I will never forget. It was a chance for me to learn, not only my university subjects, but also about Egyptian life and Islam.
Since then, I have worked to strengthen ties between Japan and the Middle East through my career as a journalist, member of the Diet, Cabinet minister, and then as the first female governor of Tokyo.
I have a great deal of respect for Saudi Arabia and the important role the Kingdom plays in the world. Japan and Saudi Arabia created a strategic partnership through the “Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 2.0,” and progress is also being made at the city level, such as with the participation of Riyadh at the U20 Mayors Summit, which was held in Tokyo last year.
Now, we are only less than 200 days away from the start of the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Tokyo will be the first city to host the Summer Paralympic Games twice.
I have a great deal of respect for Saudi Arabia and the important role the Kingdom plays in the world.
I believe that having the Paralympic venues filled with spectators will determine the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The 1964 Games left a legacy of urban infrastructure, such as our highway network and the Shinkansen bullet train.
For these Games, I want to leave a legacy that is intangible, but nevertheless important to our future.
For example, our Tokyo Data Highway strategy which will draw out the potential of Tokyo through the power of digitization, promoting barrier-free measures for a society in which everyone can play an active role, and which is ready for the coming era of a 100-year life.
My hope is to have the Japanese word “choju,” which means “longevity,” enter the global lexicon.
During the Games, we will be welcoming visitors from all over world including athletes, officials and tourists from Islamic countries.
As host city, Tokyo is promoting the creation of a welcoming environment, where a diversity of international tourists including Muslims can enjoy a comfortable stay with peace of mind.
I hope everyone who comes will enjoy Tokyo, where tradition and innovation coexist.
- Koike Yuriko is the governor of Tokyo.