Volunteer Training for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Begins
Training for the “field cast” volunteers who will assist with the operation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games began on October 4 at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Yoyogi, Tokyo. A total of roughly 550 persons attended one of the two three-hour sessions, held in the morning and afternoon, and learned about the rules and mental preparation expected of volunteers, along with Olympic and Paralympic history. The training will be held at 13 locations in 11 prefectures through the end of March 2020. The Bureau of Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Preparation also held a similar training program on the same day for “city cast” volunteers who will assist visitors outside the Games venues.
Enjoying learning to foster a sense of unity
The training session for the field cast, which was open to the media, featured an introduction to the history of the Games to give the volunteers basic knowledge, along with a diversity segment that included interactive learning, and group work to create a sense of unity. For the group work, volunteers formed teams of three to discuss and answer questions intended to deepen their understanding of persons with disabilities and raise their awareness of the Games, which will begin in less than 300 days.
The training program, including the preparation of a 180-page handbook that is being distributed to field cast volunteers, was developed primarily by Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center. The handbook comprises six chapters covering what volunteers can expect and what is expected of them, the history and significance of the Olympics and Paralympics, an outline of the Games, the diversity and inclusion that the Games’ basic concept seeks to achieve, communication and hospitality, and safety management and precautions. Interviews with volunteers from the Rio 2016 Games and photographs and illustrations demonstrating things like how to assist wheelchair users are also included.
Participants commented that the materials were easy to understand and gave them confidence, and that they were looking forward to the actual events. Yusuke Sakaue, Vice Director General of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (“Tokyo 2020”), commented, “With explanations from Para athletes and former volunteers with disabilities, which were not included in training for past Games, and elements for learning from the perspective of being in the Games, the content is easy to understand and enjoyable. I could feel the enthusiasm of the participants. Through this training, I hope to create momentum for working together as one team.”
An honor to be part of this great event
At the training session, The Nippon Foundation Executive Director Jumpei Sasakawa expressed his hopes for the Games, noting, “For The Nippon Foundation, which seeks to achieve an inclusive society where all people support one another, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a wonderful opportunity. It is a great honor to be able to be part of these Games.
“The most important part of being a volunteer is to ‘enjoy yourself.’ I believe that athletes, spectators, and volunteers sharing the experience of having fun together will lead to a successful Games.”
The Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center was established based on a partnership agreement signed in 2017 with Tokyo 2020 for cooperation and coordination in the area of volunteer activities for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Center will disseminate information to volunteers, hold events and forums, and create materials and train instructors for training programs. The Center also sent a team to observe and learn from the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games, and will use this experience to build enthusiasm for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Masaya Ninomiya, an associate professor at Bunkyo University and a consultant to the Volunteer Support Center, played a key role in preparing the training program and materials. He commented, “We wanted to make the materials easy to read and easy to understand. The program includes sign language interpretation for deaf and hard-of-hearing participants, and the handbook has 2D barcodes that can be used to play an audio recording of the text for persons with visual impairment. We hope this program and handbook will promote an understanding of the importance of diversity and create even greater interest in the Games.”
The Tokyo 2020 Games will have two types of volunteers: a field cast that will assist athletes and at Games-related facilities, and a city cast that will assist visitors and provide information at airports, train and subway stations, and tourist spots.
Roughly 80,000 field cast members, who were selected from more than 200,000 applicants, will work in one of nine fields: general information, operational support, competitions, health care, mobility support, technology, personal assistance for athletes and staff, media, and ceremonies. According to Tokyo 2020, which selected the volunteers, a wide range of ages – from teenagers to persons in their 80s – is represented, with the largest groups being those in their 50s (22%) and in their 40s (19%), and 61% are women. In addition, 12% of the field cast is non-Japanese, from 120 countries and territories. These volunteers will work 8-hour days and be provided with a uniform, as well as a box lunch and a 1,000-yen prepaid public transportation card per day.
Approximately 40,000 city cast members have been selected by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and other local governments of event sites, from roughly 11,000 registered Tokyo Marathon volunteers and more than 35,000 applicants.
Public Relations Team
The Nippon Foundation
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