As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games approach, the world is looking forward to a showcase of skill, talent, and athleticism that will gather in Japan. At the same time, embodying the Olympic spirit of community and international cooperation, the Host Town Initiative launched by the Japanese government invites visiting athletes and citizens from around the world to be welcomed as guests in their respective host towns and cities in Japan, and experience sporting, cultural, and educational activities that will foster positive relations throughout the Games and beyond.
During the session, the Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will introduce the “ARIGATO” Host Town Initiative, established in 2017 to promote international exchange and also display recovery and revitalization efforts made in disaster-stricken areas impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The Secretariat will lead heartwarming conversations between speakers from participating cities in the “ARIGATO” Host Town Initiative, and special guests including baseball legend Hisanori Takahashi, whose participation will highlight the return of baseball in the Summer Olympic program. In addition, Mary Zunick, Cultural Affairs Manager of Visit Hot Springs, will discuss the special relationship that has prospered over the years between Hot Springs and Hanamaki City, a designated “ARIGATO” Host Town. Also in attendance will be students from Hanamaki East High School, marking a memorable experience that will encourage and inspire future generations to carry the importance of international exchange throughout their lives.
Through this diverse program, these cities and guests will aim to bridge a connection between the U.S. and Japan, raising awareness of the “ARIGATO” Host Towns and their mission, as they look forward to welcoming and supporting American athletes next summer.
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Cultural Affairs Manager of Visit Hot Sprints
Commentator, former MLB/NPB player
Mayor of Hanamaki City
Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles
Japan House Los Angeles
Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cabinet Secretariat of Japan)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan