Tokyo 2020 in 365 days: On the path to new opportunity for Japan Society
Cisco Systems GK
President and General Manager
On July 24, 2020, one year from today, we will light the cauldron and usher in a new era in Japan at the open ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. The games moto: Citius, Altius, Fortius – Swifter, Higher, Stronger. Three words that perfectly describe Japan’s transformation in becoming a digital society. The first step in that transformation is the execution of an incredible Olympic experience for athletes, coaches, spectators, and tourists. While the first modern Olympic Games started with just 9 sports, these games will host 33 sports and introduce new ones, including: sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding, BMX and Karate. Tokyo will also be the first city in history to host its second Paralympic games, since the inception of the Paralympics at the 1964 Tokyo Games. The momentum toward Tokyo 2020 is rapidly increasing. In the coming year, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will become the center of attention, and Tokyo and Japan will attract greater interests from the world.
Cisco supported both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 summer games as an official supporter. In 2020, Cisco’s role is defined as the official Network Equipment Partner for the Tokyo Games. We will support 43 Olympic venues with our networking hardware, software, and services. The London Games ushered in a new era of using large-scale WiFi networking services at the Games. In Rio, we provided many networking services as well, but the security landscape had changed significantly. The threat landscape was much more complicated and pervasive. We saw more than 1 Billion Cyber Attacks at the Rio Games.
Tokyo 2020 will be the most digitized Olympics in history. Every device, every athlete, every spectator will be connected. Individuals will be sharing data about their favorite athlete, event, Olympic environment and venue experience. Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning will be alive and well in Tokyo 2020; it will help create a great competitor and spectator experience. The opportunities are endless, the threats are many, but we believe that Japan is poised and ready to host an amazing Olympic Games and show our innovation in action.
Looking back, the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games was truly a catalyst for Japan’s economic growth. Japan had committed roughly 10 billion dollars to revitalize Tokyo and build social infrastructures for the games. It had been two decades since World War II and the Olympics provided great hope and new opportunity. Olympic plans called for the construction of 10,000 new office and residential buildings, 100 km of new superhighways along vital arteries from Haneda International Airport, a monorail from the airport into downtown Tokyo, 40 km of new subway lines, four new five-star hotels, and a 4 billion-dollar bullet train (Shinkansen) that would halve the existing travel time between Tokyo and Osaka. Four-years later, by 1968, Japan would be the world’s second largest economy.
Half a century later, Japan has become a mature society, with the 3rd largest economy in the world, but faces many challenges too. Key issues like aging population, declining birth rates, diversity in the workplace, and a slow GDP growth are center stage. These are very complicated issues for Japan today, but no more complicated than the issues faced in the early 60s. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, just like 1964, provide an opportunity to open Japan to the rest of the world for travel, tourism, and business by creating more attractive, innovative and welcoming cities, transportation, and workplaces; Japan is open for business and welcomes everyone to experience the beauty of the country, it’s people, it’s culture, and it’s hospitality. We, at Cisco, strive to be a company that contributes and partners to create solutions to many of these challenges by building and providing new "digital" social infrastructure in cooperation with national and local governments, public institutions, and private companies.
For example, 99.7% of Japanese companies are small and medium enterprises, which account for over 70% of the total number of corporate workers in Japan. Workstyle innovations are an urgent task to improve the productivity of these businesses. To help, earlier in the year, we entered into a global strategic alliance with Ricoh. Together, we are transforming the workplace by providing workstyle innovations to improve productivity of small and medium enterprises by delivering simple, secure, intelligent digital network services. In April, Cisco Japan launched new business initiatives to support the digitization for small businesses with 25 or fewer employees. We did it by introducing new products, services, and solutions developed specifically for this market, including SOHOs and start-ups. In addition, "Telework Days", led by the Japan government, is in its third year, and will help institute teleworking practices in Japan business, which are important for all workers given the hundreds of thousands of tourists that are coming to Japan in the months ahead leading up to the Olympics. In the summer of 2020, working from home, at a coffee shop, or at a remote workstyle facility will be more productive than fighting traffic and trying to commute to the office. Cisco has cooperated with the "Consortium for Promoting Telework", recently established by four Government Ministries, to support the promotion of a telework system implementation for small and medium enterprises in local areas.
The number of inbound tourists to Japan in 1964 was 350,000. 50 years later, in 2014, it exceeded 13.4 million. The number of tourists in 2018 was 31.2 million, a 2.3x increase in just 4 years. And, it’s estimated, that 600, 000 tourists will come to the Japan just for the Olympics. Interestingly, more than one fourth of all foreign tourists to Japan visit Kyoto. An amazing, beautiful, historic city with many attractions for tourists. Kyoto is a Cisco Smart City. In 2015, we initiated a partnership agreement with Kyoto Prefecture on regional and smart city development using ICT. We have been working with Kyoto to establish an ideal vision for smart cities in Japan. By using the network to connect streetlights, surveillance cameras, and environmental sensors, the project aims to optimize the lighting of the city and strengthen its monitoring capabilities as a safe, environmentally-friendly city. In addition, to enhance the tourist experience, especially for non-Japanese speaking tourists, Kyoto implemented multi-lingual digital signage and WiFi services with advertisements to tourists, while promoting sightseeing. In May this year, the signage system installed in Arashiyama was upgraded. The upgrade allowed for multi-lingual virtual concierge services using Cisco 's high-quality video conferencing system. Kyoto provides a great example of a city making the digital leap, while preserving its historic and cultural foundation.
Security is fundamental to any digital transformation. It’s no different in Japan. Over the past few years, Cisco has been working with various organizations and groups to enhance cooperation in cybersecurity threat monitoring, research, and education. The Cisco Cyber Security Scholarship program, which was launched in 2017, with the aim of addressing the serious shortage of both quantitative and qualitative human resources in cybersecurity, attracted over 2000 participants with a target of 10,000 participants by Tokyo 2020. The most recent development was the basic cooperation agreement in cybersecurity with the Cabinet Cybersecurity Center (NISC) in December 2018. By providing NISC with threat information until the end of 2020, we are strengthening cooperation with Japan’s Cybersecurity Coordination Center. We hope that these security initiatives will help increase Japan's readiness to deal with the evolving cyber landscape by Tokyo 2020.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to be a showcase for not only Games management, but for various social innovations in Japan, including 5G solutions, smarter manufacturing, and self-driving cars. These are just a few examples of innovations that will be showcased at 2020. Cisco Japan will play a role in many of these innovations, and we have developed a strategic vision to contribute more deeply to the country’s digitization efforts for 2020 and beyond. We will introduce our new opportunities in the next edition.