Tokyo marked the 50th anniversary of its hosting of the 1964 Olympics today with a series of celebrations involving athletes who competed at those Games - and also offered a glimpse of the future as organisers of Tokyo 2020 presented their Vision Outline.
Exactly half-a-century since the Opening Ceremony of the first Olympics to be held in Asia, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) organised public discussion sessions at the city's Chamber of Commerce featuring famous home athletes of 1964.
They included Kiyoko Ono, gymnastics team bronze medallist, and invited others, including multiple Olympic champions Dawn Fraser and Irina Szewinska to an official reception here attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan.
The Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission and Advisory Meeting also met for the first time in the Palace Hotel, with the latter gathering - attended by the former Prime Minister and the President of Tokyo 2020, Yoshirō Mori - hearing a message of support from the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) vice-president and chairman of the Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, John Coates.
Coates concluded: "I hope that in 2070 the next generation will be able to celebrate the achievements and legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games, as much as we have been able to do with the Games in 1964."
Mori commented: "Today is exactly 50 years since the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 1964 Games.
"On this auspicious occasion, I am delighted to be able to share the fond memories we all have of the 1964 Games, and build up the momentum towards the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"The 1964 Games changed Japan.
"And our 'All Japan' team is currently working hard to ensure we deliver a Games that will prompt future generations to look back and say, 'In 2020, the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games really served to inspire the world.'"
JOC President, Tsunekazu Takeda, said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to reiterate my deepest respect and admiration to all those who contributed to the success of the Tokyo 1964 Games, and of course to all the athletes here today who competed at the Games, performed to the peak of their abilities, and left us with such wonderful memories.
"It is my earnest wish that today's celebrations will further contribute to the promotion of the Olympic Movement, to the enhancement of exchanges and mutual understanding between peoples and nations, and to peace throughout the world."
As thoughts turned back to 1964, there was a balancing initiative from Tokyo 2020, which proposed a series of goals under the slogan: "Sport has the power to change the world and the future. Japan changed in 1964. Let's inspire the world in 2020."
Based on the bid's Discover Tomorrow commitment to the IOC, the outline of the vision presented today was based on three main pillars - "Let everyone achieve his/her best", "Let everyone accept each other as they are" and "Let us pass it on to the future".
The finalised vision for the Tokyo 2020 Games will be laid out in the Games Foundation Plan, due to be submitted to the IOC in February 2015.
In his recorded video message, Coates said 1964 was the year when "Japan re-emerged onto the global stage, showing its organisational abilities, its welcoming face, and left a legacy from those Games that has served the people of Tokyo for five decades",
He added: "The Tokyo 1964 Games were a success because of the concerted effort of Team Japan.
"In the words of the IOC President of the time, Avery Brundage, 'The entire nation, from newsboy to industrial tycoon, adopted the Games as his own project.'
"This unity of purpose from the Japanese nation and the capacity of the organisers to collaborate closely with internationals stakeholders made a success of Asia's first Olympic Games.
"When I heard of the creation of the 2020 Advisory meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Abe, I knew that Japan and Tokyo was on track to deliver once again an outstanding Olympic Games for the athletes of the world."
The first gathering of the Advisory Meeting drew on the thoughts of 170 of Japan's leading figures from sport, politics, business and the arts.
"All of them are distinguished in fields of excellence and represent the best of Japan," Coates said.
"Your knowledge and experience will therefore be of great assistance to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee as they turn to you for guidance on how Japan should approach this project of national importance.
"You will also play an important role for 2020 as in your daily work you can reach parts of Japanese society that may not immediately feel concerned by the Games.
"The IOC recognised the amazing potential of Tokyo 2020 when it awarded the Games to them.
"Now that we have begun to work closely with President Mori and his remarkable team along with their highly motivated central Government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government, we can see that this potential will not be wasted.
"However the Olympic Games cannot succeed only thanks to the work of these organisations.
"It will require a concerted effort from Team Japan and from all of your partners in the Olympic Movement.
"I can assure you that the IOC and all of the Olympic Movement partners will be with you every step of the way to support and assist the delivering of your ambitious plan for the Games, a plan that will ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Games is sustainable and leaves a legacy for a future generation of Japanese and for the city of Tokyo as well as benefiting the sports movement around the world.
"Much like the Games of 1964, your commitment, and the unity of Team Japan, will be the deciding factor in Tokyo 2020 success."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
October 2014: Dawn Fraser returns to Tokyo to celebrate 50th anniversary of 1964 Olympics
October 2014: Transport holds key to perception of Olympics, claims IOC expert Bovy ahead of Tokyo 2020
October 2014: Murofushi aims to widen Olympic legacy of Tokyo 2020 to older generations and disaster-hit communities
September 2014: Tokyo 2020 vision on the agenda at first meeting of Media Commission
September 2014: Tokyo 2020 celebrates first anniversary of being awarded Olympics with pledge to create "greatest ever" Games