The Mayor of a city in Japan is visiting Cornwall this week to talk to members of the award winning Cornish team who organised the successful Olympic Torch Relay in the summer of 2012 as part of the Japanese city’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hideki Matsuzaki, the Mayor of Urayasu, will be visiting County Hall in Truro on Friday, 30 September with a group of officers from Urayasu City Council and representatives of the city’s businesses and tourism associations to meet with members of the Partnership set up to organise the Olympic Torch Relay through Cornwall.

Urayasu, which has a population of about 163,000 and is best known as the home of Tokyo Disney Resort, is one of the places which will host a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay through Japan. Mayor Hideki Matsuzaki contacted Saltash Cornwall Councillor Hilary Frank after reading a book she had recently published in Japan on local government in which she had referred to the visit of the Olympic Torch Relay to the town.

Hilary, who speaks Japanese, and is currently the Mayor of Saltash, was a key part of the team which organised the Saltash programme of activities staged to celebrate the visit of the Olympic Torch Relay to the town. She immediately agreed to share her experience of organising the event in Saltash and suggested the group should also meet with lead members of the wider Cornwall Partnership who co-ordinated the launch of the Olympic Torch Relay in Cornwall in May 2012.

As a result the group, which also includes Yuko Matsuzaki, the Mayor’s wife;
Toshiyuki Nagamine; Takemi Masuda; Nao Dokyu and Hiromi Kuga ; officers from the City Council); Yukio Takagi, from the Urayasu Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and Tatsuya Yamaoka, from Urayasu Tourism Convention Association will be meeting with Sam Groom, Cornwall’s Lead Co-ordinator for the Olympic Torch Relay, and Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall, who was also a key member of the community task force, at County Hall.

The Japanese delegation, who will be accompanied by Hilary Frank, will be welcomed to Truro by the Vice Chairman of Cornwall Council Mary May on Friday.

“I was delighted to be contacted by Mr Matsuzaki to ask if he could visit Saltash and talk to us about how we organised the community events we ran to welcome the Torch Relay through our town “said Hilary. “I am extremely grateful to Sam Groom and Malcolm Bell for agreeing to share their expertise in organising the wider event through Cornwall, and to the Vice Chairman of the Council for hosting the group’s visit to County Hall.”

‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Mr Matsuzaki to County Hall“ said Council Vice Chairman Mary May. “I hope that the exchange of expertise and sharing of our experiences in 2012 will help Urayasu City prepare for what I hope will be an amazing day for their city in 2020 as it was for Cornwall when we were privileged to host the Olympic Torch at the start of its incredible journey across the country’.

The launch of the Olympic Torch Relay at Land’s End on Saturday, 19 May, 2012 at the start of its 8,000 mile journey around the UK was watched by up to a billion people from across the world, with 240 reporters, photographers and film crews from around the world, including Japan, China, Australia, Brazil, France, America, South America, Asia, Russian, Poland, Finland, Hungary and the Netherlands, covering the once in a lifetime event.

Around 200,000 cheering people – 35% of the population of Cornwall – lined the streets to watch as the Olympic Flame passed through 21 communities along the route, with around 100 events and activities organised by local groups.

Sam Groom, who now runs successful events management company Perfect Events Group (PEG), based in Falmouth, said she was very happy to share her experience of organising the event. “Being chosen to host the start of the Olympic Torch Relay gave us the opportunity to showcase the very best Cornwall had to offer. We were determined to make it a success and to provide the best possible start to the Games” she said.

“This was a truly mammoth undertaking, with months of detailed planning by the 20 strong members of the multi agency community task force, 500 volunteers involved in the planning and operations on the day, and children from 164 local schools taking part in the education programme. We knew the key to success would be in the planning and strength of partnership working and, as a result, Saturday May 19 2012 was undoubtedly a great day for Cornwall“.

Visit Cornwall’s Chief Executive Malcolm Bell added “The 2012 torch relay was the culmination of a tremendous amount of planning and cooperation. We are delighted to meet the delegation and to share not only what we did but what tweaks we would make if we were doing it again“.