Transforming a Nation: The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

The following is the summary of a breakout session that was part of the 2016 Annual Conference.



  • Moderator: Peter M. Jennings, President/Associate General Counsel with Oversight for Asia Pacific, Dow Japan & Korea
  • Jack Hollis, Group Vice President, Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.
  • Elliot Kirschner, Executive Producer, News and Guts Media
  • Masaharu Kohno, Executive Board Member, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Naoki Yamamoto, Partner, PwC Japan


Conference attendees gathered eagerly to participate in this breakout session. Following the excitement of the Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer, participants were excited to learn what is being planned for Tokyo.

The panelists discussed important goals for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, including diversity and inclusion, sustainability and innovation. According to Ambassador Kohno, the Olympics are a movement rather than simply a sporting event, and the Organising Committee holds “Unity in Diversity” as a key element of their vision. The Games will offer challenges and opportunities in areas such as cyber security, transportation and technology. As in 1964, 2020 promises to showcase the most sophisticated Olympics in history, and according to Mr. Kirschner will provide a “once in a generation” opportunity for the Japanese community to come together and showcase their country to the world.

The importance of legacy was a common thread highlighted by the panel. As the 1964 Tokyo Olympics provided an important moment in bringing Japan to the world, 2020 will offer a similar opportunity. Organizers hope the Games will bring lasting improvements in areas such as infrastructure, economy, tourism and diversity. According to Mr. Jennings, it will be an opportunity to showcase the “tremendous human capital” that exists in Japan. In the arena of diplomacy, the Games provide a unique opportunity for youth of different countries to connect and form people-to-people bonds. In creating “mutual understanding between the world’s youth,” [Kohno], the Olympics will ultimately have a positive effect on foreign affairs and the global community.