On the spot

Hisao Katō

Mayor of Nagano City

Nagano joined the World Union of Olympic Cities this year. We are delighted to welcome you to the Olympic City family. What do you expect from being a Member of the Union?

We are very glad to be joining the Union this year.
We expect that by joining the Union, we will be able to more efficiently collect information about activity in other Olympic Cities, and effectively grapple with the succession of Olympic legacy. We also expect that the Union will be able to approach the IOC regarding succession of legacy, with the hope that they will allow governmental organizations to use the emblem of the Olympic Games, permit holding whole-year events, etc.

Nagano will welcome the representatives of Olympic Cities for an on-site visit just before the Union’s Annual Meeting in Tokyo.  What will you highlight during this visit? 

The Winter Olympic Games in Nagano were held 21 years ago in 1998, but we would like to show that many facilities which were built for the Olympic Games are still cherished as a legacy to the Games and are utilized effectively on a daily basis.

Most of Nagano 1998 venues are in use. Was sustainability a criterion at the moment of the candidature? 

When the Nagano Olympics were held, almost all of the facilities were newly constructed. Because we wanted those facilities to be used even after the Games, we constructed those facilities in a very well-planned way to make them sustainable in the long-term.
Therefore, almost all of the facilities were intentionally left partially unfinished and some temporary facilities were constructed to make up for the deficit. They were completed after the Olympic and Paralympic Games were held.

Nagano celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.
How did you conceive the event?

In order to implement the event, we received permission from the International Olympic Committee, thanks to the help of the Japan Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 20th Anniversary event was implemented by a committee which consisted of not only Nagano City, but also other local governments. Many people participated and looked back on the Nagano Olympics, and we strongly felt that the Olympic legacy had been successfully sustained through to the present. This event was a great opportunity to pass our Olympic movement to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Some of the anniversary celebrations were planned at the same time as the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. How did you combine your celebrations with the 2018 Games and how have you used them as a link between the past, the present and the future?
Just before the PyeongChang Games, we held an anniversary ceremony and and a concert as the main event of the 20th Anniversary celebration. To maintain the Olympic movement for the future, we established the following concept: “From Nagano to PyeongChang, and Tokyo.” Furthermore, we focused on the fact that the Nagano Olympic Games have inspired some talented children who watched it as spectators to aim at becoming Olympians. They actually made their dreams come true, and succeeded in entering the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

How does Nagano promote and activate its Olympic legacy on a daily basis?

We effectively utilize the facilities by holding various kinds of competitions and events every year. We also hold an annual event to promote the Olympic Movement and build cooperation with the JOC. Nagano City Hall is currently implementing Olympic projects in many municipal schools and working on joint ventures with the IOC to enlighten future generations. We hope these projects lead to a successfully sustained Olympic legacy.