Tokyo, 1 August 2021 – The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) is pleased to announce that Thomas BACH, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), visited the Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments today. The monuments were conceived as a project connecting the world and the areas hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and devastating tsunami, offering support for the recovery from the disaster. Tokyo 2020 worked on the project in collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai), the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Partner LIXIL Corporation.
The Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments symbolise the gratitude of the Japanese people and in particular those from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima—the prefectures hit worst by the earthquake and tsunami—for the support they received from people from around the world. The monuments also represent the support of the Japanese people for the world’s athletes participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The three monuments, each over two metres high, were constructed using aluminium recycled from window frames provided by LIXIL Corporation for use in temporary housing in the affected areas following the disaster. In workshops held in the summer of 2019 in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures, middle and senior high school students and students from Geidai jointly created the designs and messages to be placed on the monuments.
The completed monuments are now installed in front of the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery near Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium (National Stadium). The many athletes participating in the Games are able to see the messages of gratitude from the affected areas to the world. The athletes are able to send their own messages to the local residents and attach them to the monuments after the Games.
Joining IOC President BACH’s visit to the Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments were Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko, as well as the monument designers graduates OKA Tsukushi and FUKUI Shione. Geidai Faculty of Fine Arts Professor AKANUMA Kiyoshi, who supervised the creation of the monuments and LIXIL Corporation, Head of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Paralympic Promotion Division SATAKE Yoko were also in attendance.
President BACH was presented with messages from the students who participated in the workshops in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. These stated that they were glad that he would see the monuments and note their gratitude for the support from the world after the disaster.
At the conclusion of the visit to the monuments, President BACH and President HASHIMOTO signed commemorative plates in support of the affected regions. These will be placed permanently on the monuments. President BACH said “The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are a symbol of resilience. They were awarded in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake to be Games of recovery and reconstruction. These Games are a symbol of the resilience we have when we are united in solidarity. They are a demonstration that we are always stronger together.”
The Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments will be returned to the local communities in the three prefectures by the end of this year as a legacy of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. They will be displayed in Otsuchi Cultural Exchange Centre in Iwate, Grande 21 (Miyagi Prefectural Sports Park) in Miyagi, and the National Training Center J-Village in Fukushima, the starting point of the Olympic Torch Relay.
The story behind the creation of the monuments and comments by the designers are available at the Tokyo 2020 website at https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/news/tokyo-2020-recovery-monuments-a-symbolof-hope
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