6 February 2017
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the Japan Para-Sports Association (JPC) together held ceremonies in Tokyo's Kita City on 29 January and Shibuya City on 30 January to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic flags.
The welcome ceremony in Kita City took place in the Kita City Gymnasium, attracting some 2,000 enthusiastic spectators. Tomoya Nagase, special flag tour ambassador and member of the popular group TOKIO, and Shinji Negi, flag tour ambassador and captain of the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball team at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, took the stage. Nagase handed the Olympic flag over to Kita City mayor Yosota Hanakawa, while Negi presented the Paralympic flag to Kanako Yamada, Chair of the Kita City Assembly.
Nagase beamed as he remarked, I want to take the lead in showing my full support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. It's the kind of chance that only comes along once in a lifetime, and I hope that everyone will show their support for the Games.
The ceremony at Shibuya City was held at the city's Senior Care Community Centre and Mitake no Oka Recreation Hall on 30 January. Takayuki Hirose, member of the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission who competed in the Boccia events at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, presented the Olympic flag to Shibuya city mayor Ken Hasebe and handed over the Paralympic flag to Chair of the Shibuya City Assembly Masayoshi Kimura.
Hirose, who won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, urged more support for the Tokyo 2020 Games, One of the main reasons I was able to win a silver medal at Rio was because of the tremendous support I was getting from Japan. Let's all get together, show our support and raise and the excitement levels for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In Kita city, the Olympic and Paralympic flags will be on display on 1F of the Kita to Pia Building in Citizen's Square until 24 February, while in Shibuya city the flags will be exhibited in the 1-1 conference room, on 3F of building No. 1 of the temporary Shibuya City Hall until 3 February. Following this, the flags will embark on a tour of various local municipalities within the Tokyo Metropolitan area until June, with each municipality planning its own ceremony to welcome the flags and place them on public display. A nationwide tour of the flags is also planned, beginning in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima - the three prefectures most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.