Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary speaks to members of the press after meeting with Tokyo 2020 organizers
On 3 October 2019 a BWI delegation headed by Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI, submitted another report that detailed concrete evident on recurring violations and poor working conditions and warned the remaining months were critical to the --- Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Japan Sports Council (JSC) ---responsible for the construction of the venues for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Yuson warned the organizers that the last months in the lead up to Opening Ceremony next July would be critical. He stated, “We have received reports from workers that they are putting a lot of pressure to double time which is resulting in massive overtime and hiring of new workers with lack of skills and safety orientation. This will undoubtedly lead to serious safety problems unless safety and preventive measures are put in place.”
In the meeting, Yuson related BWI’s experience in conducting safety and health inspections on stadiums for mega-sporting events as well as ensuring workers’ welfare in construction projects. He expressed BWI’s commitment to a successful Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, but emphasized that Tokyo 2020 should be an Olympics that will benefit all of Japan- It should be positive, not only for the athletes, the business sector, and the government but also for the workers and, in particular, for workers in construction.
The BWI offered to work with the Tokyo 2020 organizers to improve the working conditions and ensure the welfare of workers and made proposals, which includes construction audit of stadiums and sport facilities. As so little time remains, BWI insisted on a rapid response from the Tokyo 2020 organizers; within a month.
The meeting is a result of the report entitled, The Dark Side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, that BWI released on 15 May 2019. To date, none of the recommendations of BWI has been implemented by the organizers.
The BWI delegation included Akira Shinohara, BWI JAC Chairperson; Keiji Katsuno, Zenkensoren General Secretary; Nara, Zenkensoren National Vice President; and Apolinar Tolentino, BWI Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific Region.