These recommendations are compiled with the following points in mind:
• The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOP) provide a vital opportunity for various socio-economic system reforms for the realization of a sustainable society in the 21st century.
• During preparations for and operation of the TOP, we can present possibilities for synergy between the Games and technological innovation.
• The TOP is an opportunity for going beyond the bounds of academics to promote the future relationship between society and scientific technology, and for actively stimulating further opinion from scientific and technological communities.
The focus of the TOP is of course the athletes, but when considering the relation between the Olympics and science and technology it is important to recognize the significant synergies that are in play in areas such as broadcast technology, IT, security, disaster prevention, and environmental management.
There is a vital need for Japan to rapidly transition from being a 20th-century society of mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal to a 21st-century society of increased efficiency and low environmental impact, and 2020 is positioned as a critical turning point for Japan. We should establish 2020 as a milestone for completing systemic preparations for conversion to this new socioeconomic system, thereby accelerating research and development that will contribute to hosting the TOP. To prepare for what comes after 2020, we should consider the following:
1) Infrastructure development, which is the obligation of the host country, should be performed in consideration of resilience to both natural and manmade disasters. Bearing in mind that the Games will be hosted at a turning point for society, both private finance initiatives and public–private partnerships should be actively employed and policy development should aim to induce innovation in existing infrastructure and social systems so that economic and social effects persist after the Games are over. In addition to scientific and technological innovation regarding traditional Japanese culture and values such as compactness, functionality, and environmental harmony, we should work to accelerate the research and development that will be needed to solve mid- and long-term social issues, such as increased energy efficiency and modernization of transportation and communications infrastructure, promoting consideration of such issues from the perspective of the social sciences.
2) We should work to share the values of globalization represented by the Olympic Games. Four billion people will watch the Games via television and the Internet, and we should aim at dazzling them with the cutting-edge technologies that are the result of industry and academia working hand-in-hand. We should strive to provide easy access to traffic, weather, and tourism information to the many international tourists who will attend the Games, by developing Internet-based information services that harmoniously blend humans and cyber-physical systems.
3) Hosting the Paralympics provides an opportunity for promoting technological innovation aimed at social inclusion of the physically challenged and the elderly, and we should also keep in mind that such technological development can transition to areas where it serves to improve the lives of the general population.
4) To prevent effects of TOP 2020 from transiently ending after the Games, it is important that we foster the development of youth who will become active players on the world stage, not just in sports but in all fields. We should make strides to provide increased opportunities for international experience to the high school, college, and graduate students who will form the next generation of researchers and technicians, for example, through study abroad programs and participation in events such as the International Science Olympiads, the WorldSkills Competition, and robotic competitions. It is also necessary to work toward developing opportunities to show our elementary and junior high school students how science and technology can provide the same excitement, dynamics, empathy, and urge to participate that athletics does.
5) Olympic and Paralympic athletes set goals for themselves, not limits, and this is an important attitude for scientists and technicians to share when faced with the many problems stemming from issues related to finite resources. Science provides a boundless frontier, and it is important that we maintain our enthusiasm for solving the problems of limited resources while nourishing an integrated perspective that considers the pros and cons of applying technology to society. Furthermore, 2020 will be the beginning of a new era where not only physical human activity but also some aspects of decision-making and thinking will be supported by machine- and computer-based intelligence, and decisions regarding what activities to relegate to robots and computers will be vital. We must therefore remain aware that human capabilities for thinking and decision-making will become all the more important as we take on new scientific and technological research and development.
6) Public interest in areas such as sports science and health science will likely increase as we head toward 2020. In these and other fields, it is necessary to increase opportunities to see and experience innovative technologies that benefit society, thereby lowering barriers between the scientific community and the general population. It is necessary that we strike a national dialog regarding how technology should be employed, what societal rules we should create or amend, and what kind of society we hope to create, and when doing so we should aim for the active participation of persons from the humanities and social sciences.
7) There is a national consensus that returning victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake to their normal lives should be a prerequisite for hosting the TOP. It is therefore highly desirable that the recommendations outlined in the “Proposal for Recovery from the Tohoku Earthquake” (Center for Research and Development Strategy, Japan Science and Technology Agency, May 2011) should be implemented.