Japan appoints Olympic minister as preparations go into full swing

Japan appoints Olympic minister as preparations go into full swing
Toshiaki Endo speaks to reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.
PHOTO: Japan News/ANN

Toshiaki Endo was appointed Thursday as the state minister for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a new post created as the special measures law for the Games took effect on the day.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Endo, a former senior vice minister for the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, on Thursday morning at the Prime Minister's Office and instructed him to make full preparations for the Games.

"We have staked our national prestige on this event," Abe said. "I also want you to handle things with reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake in mind. And we will have new challenges that we did not face in our former Olympics [in 1964], such as cybersecurity."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made the announcement before Endo was officially appointed at an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace later on Thursday.

"He is the most suitable person to take the ministerial post responsible for general coordination among the ministries and agencies concerned, which requires broad knowledge and experience in sports administration and rich political experience," Suga said at a press conference.

Endo is a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker known for his familiarity with sports administration, having served as an executive board member on the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He was also secretary general of the Diet Members' League for the Promotion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Regarding construction of the new National Stadium, Suga said, "The education minister, who has jurisdiction over the issue, and the Olympics minister will co-operate to resolve the problems." The total construction cost of the new stadium, which will be the main venue for the 2020 event, will greatly exceed the initial estimate.

The new law also allows a promotional headquarters to be established within the Cabinet. The government plans to open the headquarters soon with Abe as its chair, and start full-fledged preparation for the 2020 event.

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