Outline of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano

Mr. Ko Yamaguchi
Head of Media - NAOC (Nagano Olympic Committee)

Overseas Press Club, New York
October 21, 1997


Thank you President, Mr. John Corporon and Cary (Brock). Thank you for your introduction and good evening or good late afternoon. It is my great pleasure to be here in New York, and to have the chance to talk to you, the distinguished members of the Overseas Press Club of America. Also I would like to thank the Consulate General of Japan and the Japan Information Center in New York, which gave me this wonderful chance to meet with fellow journalists in NewYork.

My name is Ko Yamaguchi, and I am the Head of Media for the Nagano Winter Games. With my experience spanning 29 years in international circles as a Kyodo News correspondent, I am determined to make every effort in securing and providing the best possible working conditions for the world media who cover the Nagano Games.

Today I would like to explain general information, preparations, environmental efforts and press operations in Nagano, as well as the high-tech usage for the 18th Olympic Winter Games in Nagano.

Of all host cities in the history of Winter Olympic Games, Nagano is geographically situated the farthest south and closest to the equator. Looking out across the Japanese archipelago, impressive mountain ranges rise steeply from its center. In Nagano Prefecture, 10,000 foot peaks prevail. It was in 1881 that an Englishman, Mr. William Gouland, became enchanted by the beauty of these mountains and called them the "Japan Alps". This is the place where the Nagano Winter Olympic Games are to be held.

Nagano was said to be the most remote prefectural capital from Tokyo, when it was compared with other capitals by the time required from Tokyo. It took 3 hours halfway by express train, and Naha in Okinawa and Sapporo in Hokkaido could be reached in shorter time by air. But now, thanks to the Shinkansen new Bullet train which started to operate October 1st, it takes only 80 minutes from Tokyo to Nagano. The Japan Railway company used the slogan for opening the Shinkansen, "Nagano is Tokyo".

People in Nagano Prefecture have dreamed for decades of hosting the Winter Games. The first bid was for what would have been the 1940 Games, and again for the 1968 Games. In 1985, more than 12 years ago, Nagano decided to bid for the third time. Dreams came true in June 1991 at the 97th IOC session in Birmingham.

Nagano is very famous for the Zenkoji Temple as you know. The 1,400 year old temple never belonged to any particular sect of Buddhism for centuries, but rather has welcomed all kinds of people with the promise of paradise for believers.

You will find later a big "koro" or incense burner in the video which I am going to show in the front yard of Zenkoji temple, and it is said that the smoke of a burnt stick of incense will cure your disease and make you happy. CBS is going to have a studio inside the Zenkoji temple and one of my friends and a newscaster for CBS who touched the smoke, expects no more trouble for himself. It happened to be that the big incense burner was donated jointly by my father and his friends about 40 years ago. It was a coincidence, so I myself have somewhat of a personal relationship with Zenkoji and Nagano, and this might have brought me to work with NAOC.

(Outline of the Games)

The Nagano Games will be held over a period of sixteen days from February 7th through the 22nd next year in Nagano City and surrounding areas. The Nagano Games, the last Olympic Winter Games of this century, and only the second Winter Olympics in Asia, will be held under the concept "Games from the Heart- Together With Love". Preparations for holding the Games is proceeding based on three goals which support this concept. One of these goals is "Homage to the Beauty and Bounty of Nature". This has been one of the supporting pillars that we have worked under since the time of bidding for the Games. I will speak of the efforts we have made to conserve and protect the environment later on, but first I would like to give you an overview and highlight some of the characteristics of the Nagano Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has informed us that they have received replies from 83 National Olympic Committees wishing to participate in the Nagano Games. This is potentially the largest number of NOCs ever to participate in the Winter Olympics. If you refer to the Media Update which I have distributed to you today, you will find the list of these NOCs on page 2. As a festival of peace and friendship, I believe that participation of as many NOCs as possible will be one of the keys to the success of the Nagano Games.

The Nagano Games will feature sixty eight events in seven sports, and it means more events and sports, more athletes and excitement, than ever before. Snowboarding, Women"s Ice Hockey, and Curling will make their official Olympic debut. Also, top players from the National Hockey League will take part, promising to make the Nagano Games the most thrilling ever I hope.

(Festival of Peace and Friendship)

"Homage to Nature" is one of our goals outlined in the Basic Plan for Games Operations. Another goal is to stage a "Festival of Peace and Friendship". I would like to introduce to you a few examples of the efforts we are making to realize this goal for peace.

(Olympic Truce)

The Olympic Movement celebrated its 100 year anniversary of the modern Olympic Games in 1994. Four months prior to the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, almost exactly four years ago to this day, the United Nations passed a resolution on October 25, 1993 which inter alia, revived the ancient Greek tradition of "Ekecheiria" or "Olympic Truce", calling for all hostilities to cease during the Olympic Games, thereby mobilizing the youth of the world in the cause of peace.

Furthermore, on November 7, 1995, the U.N. amended its resolution, deciding to include in the agenda of its 52nd session an item entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal", and to pass this item every two years in advance of each Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

Humankind has experienced two tragic world wars during the current century, and although the "Cold War" era has become history now, still there appears to be no end to hostilities and armed conflicts. Hoping that the 21st century will be without wars, efforts will be directed towards making the Nagano Games- the second Olympic Winter Games to be held in Asia- a celebration of peace and friendship.

NAOC actively endorses and supports the call by the IOC and the U.N. for all warring parties to lay aside arms and join the Olympic Games.

For the Nagano Games, Japan is making final arrangements with the IOC to urge Member States to observe the Olympic Truce during the 1998 Nagano Games and for the U.N. to pass a resolution on November 25. We hope that the Nagano Games will be a link to the 21st century, inspiring the search for wisdom for the new era, respect for furtherance of peace and goodwill. The U.N. resolution for the Atlanta Centennial Games was backed by 161 countries, and it is our fervent wish that as many nations as possible will support this Nagano Winter Olympic Truce resolution.

(Harmony Fund)

In addition to the "Olympic Truce", the Olympic Aid program represents the ideals of the Olympic Movement. The City of Nagano, with assistance from NAOC, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), and UNICEF Japan, has established a charitable fund to raise money for children in disadvantaged countries around the world. Called the "Harmony Fund", it will channel financial assistance for education materials and sports equipment to children in underprivileged countries, or those devastated by war.

The Fund was introduced to the public for the first time on May 15 this year, and the goal of the fund is to raise approximately 1 million U.S. dollars. The fund-raising period will continue after the Games until March of 1999, as Nagano City established the Fund with a wider agenda than just Olympic Aid, and hopes to create a variety of charitable activities to assist the children of war-torn countries.

(One School, One Country Program)

An innovative "International Education" project was launched in 1990 by the Board of Education of Nagano City. With the excellent opportunity that the the Olympics presents, the One School, One Country program was established as part of this project, giving school children a chance to deepen their international understanding.

Elementary and junior high schools in Nagano City have been paired with a country or region coming to the Nagano Games, and are actively involved in cultural activities. In addition to cheering for the teams competing at the international competitions held during the last winter season, students had the opportunity for direct interaction with athletes from all over the world. Through this program, schools have become actively involved in a variety of projects, including letter exchanges, learning and performing folk music, and exchange visits.

At the Nagano Games, the school students are hoping to have a welcome ceremony with the delegation representing their partner countries when they arrive at the Olympic Village, and a cultural exchange after the competitions are finished.

The One School, One Country program is a shining example of our desire to encourage the "Participation of Children", one of the other goals for the Nagano Games.

All of these factors together will, in our view, help make the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics the best Olympic Games ever I hope. And also the first time in the Olympic Games that the children"s price for tickets will be just half the price of adults.

(Competition facilities and management)

All of the competition facilities are now complete, with the last remaining facility named Hockey Stadium B Aqua Wing recently completed on Monday last week (October 13). During the last winter season, Nagano successfully hosted fourteen international competitions, World Championships, or World Cups at these newly built facilities. We will use what we have learned at these competitions to refine our simple yet efficient competition management for the Games.

(The Nagano Games and Media Coverage)

Now here is a news room and I saw many of my fellow journalists , so I would like to talk briefly about our current media coverage of the Nagano Games. Presently in Japan, 149 media organizations such as newspapers, news agencies, and broadcasters, belong to the Japanese Press Association, and most of these have a sports department or sports journalists. As of 1997, almost 4,300 journalists belong to the Japanese Sports Press Association.

The Japanese Press Association was established in 1923, and joined the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) in 1952. The member journalists are actively covering the sports scene, not only domestically, but also overseas. As of this year, 420 journalists have AIPS memberships, the fifth largest number of journalists from one country in the world.

Various committees for 27 sports, and also committees to cover the Japanese Olympic Committee and Asociation of Amateur Athletic Federations, have been established within the Japanese Press Association. In conjunction with the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games, committees for Bobsleigh, Luge, Biathlon, and Curling have been newly established.

People in Japan are very much interested in the Olympic Games, as here in the United States, perhaps as much as anywhere in the world they say. During the Olympics, most of the newspapers will have a large section devoted to the Olympics in addition to their usual sports section. Television will broadcast the Olympics all day long, and the entire nation pays attention to the Games.

So, why is Japan so in love with the Olympics, and why does the sports media devote so much effort to covering the Games? Of course there are many sports fans in Japan like in the United States, but I believe it is also because Japan is in the Far East and its geographical location restricts people from international exchange with countries in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. For many people in Japan, the Olympics are an excellent opportunity to share the world"s vision, and deepen understanding beyond our differences in human race and religion.

(The Excitement Builds)

It is not only the interest of the media that is going to swell. Interest in the Games from the general public is increasing daily. Over 200,000 spectators visited Nagano during the last winter season to participate in the international competitions, and this time we are expecting more than two million spectators coming to Nagano.

The demand for tickets has been exceptionally high, with the first phase of domestic ticket sales over -subscribed by 18 times, and Figure Skating by 80 times. The third phase of ticket sales has commenced today in Japan from 10 AM this morning, and I had a report from my colleagues in Nagano by telephone that in front of the ticket sales counter there were long queues of people who wanted to buy tickets. Popular tickets such as Figure Skating, the Opening Ceremony, and Ice Hockey were quickly sold out within 30 minutes.

We will continue to work towards creating a festive atmosphere where all athletes and spectators can celebrate our Games and this festival of peace and friendship.

(Press Support)

Next, I would like to mention something about press support during the Games. In Laussane, it was May after I got my new assignment as Head of Media with Nagano, that President Samaranch told me "It is the Press who decides the fate of the Games. To succeed or not succeed-it is the Press who decides. So the Press" working conditions are very important and this is very challenging, and I wish good luck.

(Press" Working Environment)

So far, construction of the Main Press Center, MPC, will be completed and the facility handed over to NAOC on November 4. On-site inspections of the media facilities, that is, the MPC, Sub-Press Centers of each venue, and media housing, the so-called Media Villages, and also each venue"s mixed zones, were carried out by members of the IOC Press Commission earlier this month, and they were pleased and happy with what they saw.

Sub-Press Centers (SPCs) will be established at competition venues, the Stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the site for the Victory Ceremony, Hakuba mountain areas, and the Olympic Villages. A press working room will be set up at the finish area of the Men"s Alpine Skiing Downhill course.

(Photo Services)

I don"t think there are many photographers here, but we have very good photo services. Eastman Kodak, the Worldwide Sponsor of photographic services to the Olympic Games, will establish and run the Image Center for film processing in the Main Press Center. The Canon and Nikon Service Center will be located in the MPC, providing camera repair and loan services. We already fixed all the photo positions for the world"s photographers, providing the best positions to take good photos. Also I have to explain some more about the Nagano Olympic News Agencies. Maybe few people know about news agencies for the Olympic Games, but for the first time in Olympic history, an Intranet computer network system will be used to provide information through the Nagano Olympic News agency, NAONA. The Intranet technology was put to practical use by NAONA during the World Cups and World Championships this past winter season to high acclaim.

I mentioned earlier, the Nagano Games will feature some of the latest state-of-the-art technology. The Info'98 system will be the first of its kind to incorporate Intranet technology. Utilizing the Netscape Navigator 3.0 browser, users will be able to obtain data on screen on a real-time basis, with printouts easily and quickly from the Accredidation and Games Results systems, as well as information from the Olympic News Agency. For the Games, some 1,200 volunteers, including 700 engineering students from Shinshu University in Nagano, will provide technological support and assistance. Already, training for them has begun, and during February next year, those students" classes will be closed so that they can lend their energy and enthusiasm to all facets of the Games" systems. Thus we do our best after learning lessons in Atlanta, to have very reliable and quick information services in Nagano. IBM, the worlwide technology partner for the Olympic Games, is doing a lot of work for making secure systems.

Following the tradition set in past Olympic Games, Nagano will provide an Olympic Newsletter and an Olympic Radio Station providing information in French, English, and Japanese. This time our Olympic Newspaper has different editorial members, so headlines and photos can be different in each language. It means that francophones can have a better newspaper for them, and English-speaking people will also enjoy their own.

(Media Transportation and Housing)

Transportation is always a concern at every Olympic Game. NAOC has and will continue to ask residents of Nagano for their cooperation while the Nagano Prefectural Police implement effective traffic measures. We ask them to cut 30% of total traffic at Game time. Only professional drivers will be used for driving more than 1000 shuttle buses during the Games, and they will be given thorough training including instruction in the location of Olympic venues. For arrival and departure guidance, I think you aleady know about Narita Airport, so I just don"t want to say much.

During the Games, shuttle buses will run within the Olympic area according to a set time schedule. The services will operate 24 hours a day between the Media Villages and hotels, International Broadcasting Center, and the Main Press Center. This could be very effective transportation. We will ask members of the media to share the media buses with other non-media accredited persons in cases where there are seats available. Also, we have very good Media Villages, Yanagimachi and Asahi, which are close to downtown Nagano, and they will be open from January 7th to set up offices for the news organs all over the world.


Now, I would like to share with you an 8 minute video about Nagano. Please watch the video.

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Medals for the Nagano Games you have just seen on the video are of a very unique design, and they reflect elements of traditional Japanese culture. The Torch, Cauldron, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, too, will have a distinctly Japanese flavor and feel. Maybe Grand Sumo Sekitori will show up and also lots of very traditional Japanese cultural programs will be shown in the coming Opening Ceremony. Well, I"d like to get into our technology story.

(State-of-the-art technology)

As one of the special considerations in staging the Nagano Games, state-of-the-art technology will be given close attention to ensure that the Games are effectively run. Precision industry and high technology are a distinctive feature of Nagano Prefecture itself.

Universal Traffic Management Systems, called "UTMS", will be in operation during the Games to smooth transportation services. Installing special sensors on the road will make bilateral communications between the sensors and vehicles possible, and will provide accurate information about transportation and traffic conditions.

Priority Signal Control, "PTPS", will be utilized so that the Games" operational vehicles including athletes" buses and dedicated passenger vehicles and media buses, will trip sensors when approaching traffic lights, and the system will automatically prolong the green light.

The "MOS" system will identify on a real-time basis the location of Games" operational vehicles, to compile accurate information which will help schedule transportation services. Some buses will have a kind of navigation control system which is connected to headquarters and they can tell which way is the best way to go to each venue. If Route A takes 15 minutes, and Route B takes 25 minutes, the bus driver will take Route A after looking at the screen in the bus.

In addition to regular cars, trucks, and buses, a fleet of 104 low emission vehicles will be mobilized during the Games. Forty "hybrid" buses will be used to shuttle Games" staff and spectators within the Olympic Area. These high-tech "hybrid" vehicles are equipped with a gas/diesel engine and electric motor, and are designed to keep pollutants to a minimum. Energy created during breaking will be used to generate electricity, then used to charge the battery that will supplement power to the engine when starting and accelerating the vehicle.

As another example of technology being utilized for the Nagano Games, an iris recognition system will be implemented for the first time in Olympic history to register biathlon athletes and officials for entry into the Olympic village. Just like fingerprints, each person has a different iris pattern, and this system will register iris patterns in a computer, allowing quick verification and identification. Verification will take only two seconds, and unlike ordinary computer systems, will effectively eliminate any potential for tampering of magnetic cards.

An advanced fingerprint verification system will also be installed at the doping laboratory and the Main Access Control Center. Unlike standard systems, this system will allow for almost instantaneous verification of identity. At the Access Control at security gates, accreditation cards will be checked by bar code scanner, similar to the system that was in place during the Atlanta Games.

As one of the research and development projects subsidized by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, a satellite telecomminication system for medical support for remote areas will be provided. Medical services in an isolated mountain area will be the model case of this research project. For their feasibility study, a medical examination vehicle will be stationed at the Happo"one venue. In the case of injury to an athlete, the individual will be provided with emergency medical service. He/she will be examined in a medical vehicle and the results of the examination will be transmitted promptly by satellite to the hospital.

At each competition venue, international signals produced by ORTO'98 ( Olympic Radio Television Organization) will be converted from analog to digital format and then transmitted to the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) usuing a fiber optic digital network. Digital video recording will be used at the IBC, and the high quality international signals produced at competition venues will be kept as a permanent record of these Games by the IOC.

Microphones will be buried in the ice at rinks for all ice sports except Curling. These microphones will pick up the sounds of skates and pucks, bringing the action even closer to spectators and TV viewers. In the past, it has been difficult to record skating sounds because of the overwhelming sound of spectators cheering. This microphone can be buried in the ice and was developed to make the recording possible. It is of course water-resistant. For the Nagano Games, a total of 71 of these microphones will be imbedded in the ice - 40 at M- Wave for Speed Skating competitions, 6 for Ice Hockey Stadium A, and 6 for Ice Hockey Stadium B, 16 at White Ring for the Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating competitions, and 3 at the Bobsleigh/Luge track.

These microphones are capable of transmitting clear, high quality sound and are only 1 cm thick, and can withstand 3 tons of pressure. It will also be possible to listen to these exotic sounds through the official NAOC Internet website by real audio.

For the first time ever, a Video On Demand service with over 500 hours of video images from Olympic Games past and present will be available through special VOD terminals set up at 24 locations throughout the Olympic area. Through these, members of the media as well as athletes and officials and citizens of Nagano can call up video images on demand.

Also, a high-definition vision of competition footage will be produced and shown. This 3D high-definition vision will enhance the illusion that the viewer at the theatre is actually at the competition. The Opening Ceremony, Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, and Nordic Combined Jumping competitions will be broadcast at the IBC, Olympic theme pavillion, and NHK Broadcast Center. Ice Hockey is scheduled for live coverage.

For the first time again in Olympic history, large screens will be installed at all competition venues. International signals of the athletes" great performances, replays, and other inspiring scenes will be shown on these screens. Other information, folk traditions and culture, will also be displayed on these screens to introduce them to the visitors from around the world.

A very unique system called Time Lag Adjustor has been developed for use at the Opening Ceremony. Choirs from five cities all over the world representing each continent, will be singing Beethoven"s No. 9, conducted by world renowned Seiji Ozawa via satellite. The transmission time difference caused by distance to each location will create a maximum of four second time lag, so this TLA was developed to cope with this and was tested successfully.

During the Games, an Olympic telephone network using fiber optics will be established. Five digit dialing will connect all competition and non-competition venues. A reliable back-up system will also be established.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) utilizing satellite transmission will be established, and the international signals collected at the IBC will be transmitted to some of the world. I talk maybe too much about the high-tech, but this kind of new high-technology will be used at Nagano because such a human way of usage of high-tech will be indispensible for the 21st century Olympic Games.

Another thing I could add maybe, would be the equipment such as the Doppler radars and other high-tech devices which will be used to provide accurate and prompt weather forecasts and information in the mountain areas. This weather forecast system will play a vital role in the competition management for outdoor venues in Hakuba or Shiga. Weather data from past years provided by the supercomputer of the Meteorological Agency and other organizations will be collected and analyzed. It will be shown at Info'98.

Use of the Internet has been rapidly expanding, and NAOC also has an official website to disseminate information to the world. This is the single most comprehensive source of information on the Nagano Games available, and this website is currently receiving over 100,000 visits per day.

(Environmental efforts)

Now, I would like to go to the topic of environmental efforts which NAOC has implemented in staging the Nagano Winter Olympics, and I would like to share with you the importance of nature conservation to the Nagano Games. As you are all aware, the environment has become the third dimension to the Olympic Games in addition to sports and culture.

In order to preserve the natural environment , cooperation is necessary on a global level, and let me assure you that the entire Organizing Committee of NAOC is committed to nature conservation. We have ensured that the construction of Olympic sites causes the minimum amount of damage to the environment. We also have been careful to set the starting point of the Men"s Downhill in an area which does not encroach upon the beautiful National Park in Hakuba. And the Bobsleigh course has been built using state-of-the-art technology to reduce the amount of amonia used in icing the track to one sixtieth of the amount used in Lillehammer.

I would like to give you concrete examples of our efforts to achieve coexistence with nature in the construction of facilities for the Nagano Games. The utmost consideration was given to the natural environment in the construction of Olympic facilities by the Nature Conservation Study Council, which just finished the Men"s Downhill Course Program the day before yesterday. This Council, which was established by Nagano Prefecture in the fall of 1996, will continue to monitor Olympic sites even after the Games have concluded, to ensure that restoration programs are effective.

Outdoor venues are indispensible to the Olympic Winter Games, and existing courses were employed wherever possible keeping new development to a minimum for the Nagano Games. Where new construction was necessary or unavoidable, efforts were made to minimize changes to the natural or quasi-natural vegetation and landscape. Where such changes were unavoidable, effotrs were made to restore the environment. For example, we keep the topsoil of each construction site and restore the topsoil after construction.

I would like to take the Biathlon venue as an example of the consideration given to the natural environment in constructing competition venues for the Nagano Games. The Biathlon venue was originally planned for Hakuba Village. However, the environmental assessment of the proposed site confirmed the nesting of goshawks, a bird protected under the Washington Convention. In the course of many discussions, we decided to relocate the venue to Nozawa Onsen, approimately 100 kilometers from the original site.

In constructing the Biathlon venue in Nozawa Onsen, the use of one part of an existing cross-country skiing course made it possible to limit the scale of development. During the course of construction, as I will explain later, seedlings were planted and topsoil was returned to the location. In addition, holding ponds were created to prevent the pollution of streams running through the area, and rare vegetation transplanted from the area.

Various species of trees were planted at random at a density of two or three seedlings per square meter. With such a high density, the trees will help support each other and grow through competition. Such saplings were used to restore the area at the Bobsleigh/Luge venue, as well as at the nearby Freestyle Skiing venue, at the Biathlon venue that I just mentioned, and at the Ski Jumping and Alpine skiing venues in Hakuba.

In addition to planting saplings, the topsoil at construction sites as I explained before, was removed and stored at a separate location to be returned to the original site after construction was completed. This Topsoil Restoration Method was employed at construction sites related to the Nagano Games.

In the construction of indoor facilities and operational facilities, natural lighting, natural air flow, the use of ground water and circulating systems have been employed to save energy. Moreover, a solar power generator has been installed at the religious center of the Olympic Village.

In installing the temporary facilities that are necessary for the Games, recycled resources are being utilized and the materials employed will be reused after the Games to reduce the overall amount of waste generated.

Next, I would like to talk about our environmental policy for the Games" operations. In the Games" operations, Olympic goods sold at each venue will not be wrapped, because Japan is very famous for wrapping, but we would like to stop wrapping, and visitors will be asked to take any trash out of the venue with them in order to reduce the amount of garbage. Frthermore, the plates used at Olympic cafeterias and restaurants will be made of recycled material, and it will be possible to convert them into solid fuel or paper after use.

(Apple Tableware)

Here are some examples. This is the apple plate. The paper plates used at the Nagano Games will be made from a mix of 25% apple pulp leftover from juice production and 75% paper pulp. Incorporating apple pulp left over from making juice will make it possible to compost them; using apple pulp usually dicsarded as waste into these fully biodegradable plates reduces the amount of paper pulp required, and thus reduces the need to fell timber and exhaust precious natural resources.

Nagano is very famous in Japan for apples,and New York is the Big Apple, but until now, the pulp left over in the production of juice was disposed of, so we"d like to use this.

Well now, we have only 109 days as of October 21st that remain until the opening of the Nagano Games. We will continue putting all our efforts into making the Nagano Games the best possible Olympic Winter Games. I am sure that the Games will be a success on the competition side. But we also want the Games to be an environmental success, one that conveys a message to the world for the coming century.

Before closing, I"d like to make a brief statement about our financial budget and also some economic ripple effects. A revised budget of 103 billion yen was approved by the NAOC Executive Board in March 1997, up from 94.5 billion. This is only for the Games" operation expenses. As for revenues, we are expecting 69.9 billion yen from marketing activities. Among them are television rights which will be 34.6 billion yen, sponsorship to be 28.1 billion yen, and ticket sales and others 7.2 billion yen. From other sources like regional government subsidies and lotteries, we are expecting another 33.1 billion and the total revenue will be 103 billion yen.

A major portion of revenue such as television rights is paid in U.S. dollars, and a recent change in the exchange rate enables recalculation of 1 U.S. $ = 115 Japanese yen in the revised plan. Initially the financial plans were calculated at U.S. 1$= 95 yen.

(Economic Ripple Effect)

I would like to touch upon the economic ripple effect that holding the Olympic Winter games is expected to bring to Nagano. Investments have been made in connection with the construction of competition facilities, including the Speed Skating arena, two Ice Hockey stadiums, and the stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as non-competition facilities such as the Main Press Center, Media Villages, and the Olympic Village.

After the Games are over, these facilities will be utilized by the citizens of Nagano for sport and leisure activities, for public housing, and for holding conventions and concerts, or international exxhibitions, thereby making the best possible use of this investment.

The infrastructure of roads and railrays, the transportation network including the new Shinkansen bullet train and expressways, has been greatly improved. Not just in Nagano City, but also connecting all the municipalities hosting Olympic facilities, as well as to major urban centers such as Tokyo and Nagoya. The economic benefits this will have on the commerce of the area as a whole over the long term are clear.

According to a July 1996 study by a local economic think tank, an estimated total investment for the Games of 1,500 billion yen (12.5 billion U.S.$ at 120 yen to the dollar) is projected to create some 2,300 billion yen (19.16 billion U.S.$) of economic ripple effects in the coming several years.

Of course there is the "visible" legacy of facilities, transportation, and so on created by the economic ripple effect, but we should not forget all the intangible benefits. By staging the Olympics, the citizens of Nagano will deepen their awareness of internationalization, and at the same time, will have an opportunity to feel proud of their city and share their own traditional culture and hospitality with the world. I think these will long remain as the "invisible" legacy of Nagano City.


I hope you will come away from here today with a deeper understanding about the preparations we are making. Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming you with warm Nagano hospitality in February next year. Thank you very much.

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