Tokyo 2016 Plants the Seeds for a More Sustainable Olympic Games

TOKYO(RushPRnews)12/11/08-– Efforts towards Tokyo hosting the greenest and most sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games ever took another major step today with the planting of 7,000 saplings at a key 2016 Games venue cluster on Saturday, 8 November.

The planting at Tokyo’s inspiring ‘Sea Forest’ – a richly landscaped landfill island in Tokyo Bay – is an early step in the city’s commitment to host the most compact and sustainable Games ever held at the very heart of Japan’s vibrant capital. Sea Forest will host Olympic cross-country equestrian, rowing, flatwater canoe and kayak, marathon swimming, BMX and mountain bike competitions at the Tokyo 2016 Games.

The young trees were planted by a symbolic group of 2,016 people comprising athletes and volunteers, including many elementary school children who helped to nurture the saplings. Among the athletes were Beijing 2008 bronze medallist wrestler Kyoko Hamaguchi, her father Animal Hamaguchi, a former professional wrestler, and track cycling Paralympian Mutsuhiko Ogawa. The athletes pledged their support to help establish Tokyo as a model city with the lowest environmental load in the world through innovative initiatives such as Sea Forest.

Tokyo Vice-Governor Hideo Sugawara led the planting alongside world-renowned architect Tadao Ando, who is also chairman of the Sea Forest project as well as a member of the Grand  Design Team for Tokyo2016.

By 2016, Sea Forest will be home to a robust 88-hectare forest as part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s (TMG) ‘Tokyo’s Big Change – the Ten Year Plan’. This is a plan to turn Tokyo into one of the most advanced global cities in terms of infrastructure, environment, safety, culture, tourism, industry and sports. Working alongside TMG to achieve this goal, Tokyo 2016’s Games-related initiatives will act as catalyst for change and showcase Tokyo’s sustainable model.

Sea Forest’s innovative design will enable it function as a natural air conditioner by cooling breezes that flow into the heart of the city, including during the Games.

As Tokyo undergoes the world’s greatest urban and environmental transformation, it will expand its greenery onto the streets with more than one million trees covering rooftops, parks and school lawns by 2016. The ‘greening’ of Tokyo will help to establish a harmony between urban living and the natural environment, for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

Ms Hamaguchi said:

“As an Olympian, it is an honour to plant a tree in Sea Forest, the proposed site for several Tokyo 2016 Olympic competitions. Born, raised and still living in Tokyo, I deeply wish to see Tokyo host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I will plant my tree with this great expectation.”

Mr Ando, who prepared the Grand Design for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said:

“Although it’s raining today, trees can not grow without rain, so it is actually a wonderful day for this event.  I came up with the idea for Sea Forest when the first tree was planted on this island during a national tree-planting ceremony 12 years ago. Sea Forest is not just for Tokyo but for the world [as a symbol of humanity’s efforts] to overcome global environment problems.

“Today, with the assistance of Olympian and Paralympian athletes who have achieved great track records, we are planting trees that measure just 30 centimetres in height, but will grow to as much as two meters in three years. We will continue to carry out this project so that Tokyo may offer the world a beautiful forest in eight years’ time [2016]. ”

Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chairman and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said:

“The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s efforts fully support Tokyo 2016’s commitment to unite ‘Green with 2016’, one of the driving pillars of our ‘Musubi Promise’ to the Olympic Family and Paralympic Family.

“Water and greenery already cover more than half the area of Tokyo and we plan to work hand-in-hand with the Government to raise greater awareness of the need to tackle climate change and create a sustainable future for all. This is a firm environmental commitment, and we are dedicated to building a lasting legacy that will stretch far beyond our borders and inspire other cities and nations around the world.”

For more information contact:
Masa TAKAYA
Tokyo 2016 Olympic Bid
masanori.takaya@tokyo2016.or.jp
+81 3 5320 2480