Tokyo 2020 pledge commitment to sustainability as city feels effect of latest earthquake

Tuesday, 05 June 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Yoyogi _for_World_Environment_dayJune 5 - Tokyo 2020 officials have pledged again to host a sustainable Olympics and Paralympics as the city felt the effects of a small earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan, the latest to hit the country in recent months.

To mark the 40th anniversary of World Environment Day, officials from the Japanese capital promised to focus on ensuring that if there bid is successful it would deliver a lasting social and sporting legacy, including sustainable construction and a continued commitment to energy conservation.

All venues and facilities being built or renovated for the 2020 Tokyo Games would meet the CASBEE energy-efficiency building certification standard, Japan's tool for assessing and rating the environmental performance of buildings, equivalent to LEED in the US and BREEAM in the UK, they promised.

The plan calls for maximum use of natural energy, renewable sources, and recycled construction materials.

But the dangers of the city being hit by a earthquake were again brought into focus following the latest 5.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck off the east coast of Honshu, the main island on which Tokyo is located.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and no tsunami alert was issued.

It is the latest in a series of minor quakes that have hit Japan since last year's 9.0-magnitude earthquake (pictured) triggered a huge tsunami off Japan, resulting in thousands of deaths and the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter-of-a-century.

Japan earthquake_March_11_2011
In March a magnitude 6.3 earthquake was reported, shaking some of the buildings in Tokyo, while in April there was one of 5.5 and last month another of 4.8.

The last time Tokyo was hit by a major earthquake was in 1923, when a 7.9 magnitude quake killed more than 100,000 people, many of them in fires.

Experts claim there has been a five-fold increase in the number of quakes in the Tokyo metropolitan area since the disaster in March 2011.

Tokyo is promoting its 2020 bid as a symbol of Japan's recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that left over 15,000 people dead.

British bookmakers have made Tokyo the favourites to be awarded the Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires on September 7, 2013, ahead of rivals Istanbul and Madrid.

"World Environment Day gives all of us a good reason to again think about the importance of respecting today's environment for the sake of tomorrow," said Masato Mizuno, the chief executive of Tokyo 2020, who is also a member of the IOC's Sport and Environment Commission.

"Public events large and small must be designed for minimum impact on the environment, and the Olympic Games are no exception.

"The Tokyo 2020 plan minimises the Games' environmental impact in all facets, including building materials, waste reduction, smart water use and more." Mizuno is also a member of the International Olympic Committee's Sport and Environment Commission.

The 2020 Games plan meshes with Tokyo Vision 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's (TMG) long-term plan to turn the city into a showcase of urban sustainability under an unprecedented urban and environmental transformation over the next eight years, officials claim.

Tokyo Vision 2020 includes initiatives for green technology, transport and sport, especially for the younger generation, as part of meeting the city's long-term development needs for new homes, offices, transport and green space.

"The environment is the third dimension of Olympism, alongside sport and culture," said Mizuno.

"For decades Tokyo has been a world leader in long-term environmental planning.

"Hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will serve as the catalyst to create the ultimate 21st century showcase of environmental responsibility and sustainability."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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