Visitors at the eerily quiet venue can receive a free media kit, filled with some surprising goods.

While official Olympics reporters from overseas media organisations are paying through the nose for food at Tokyo Big Sight’s Main Press Centre set up by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has also set up its own media centre for press coverage in downtown Yurakucho.

Located in Yurakucho’s “Tokyo Sports Square“, the media centre is only open to reporters via advance online reservations, so our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato decided to pay them a visit, entering his personal credentials on the official site.

▼ Three days later, he was issued with an approval email, which he showed to staff when he arrived at the venue.

After registering at the reception desk at the entrance, Mr Sato underwent a baggage check and received his admission card for the day.

Being a government-run facility, security is tight here, with security guards at the door and only pre-approved reporters allowed on the premises. Once inside, Mr Sato was surprised to see a large room with tables and chairs lined up, creating easy-to-use workspaces that included electrical power sockets, hand sanitisers, clear partitions and socially distanced seating.

It was 11:00 am on a weekday, but hardly anyone was here. Mr Sato counted about 10 people in the building, including himself, and there were far more staff and guards on the premises than actual reporters.

Up on the third floor it was equally lonely, with staff working at booths sponsored by the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) to promote regional areas. Workshops on culture and traditional crafts from all over the country were being held here, as a way to connect overseas journalists with Japanese culture from areas outside Tokyo.

Unfortunately, there were no international reporters to be seen when Mr Sato visited, and he couldn’t help but feel a little down about JNTO’s efforts to promote rural regions being unnoticed by the world’s media.

His spirits lifted a little when he spotted a self-service drink corner, as staff had told him reporters weren’t allowed to bring any food with them on site. The instant tea and coffees here would help to fill that empty spot in his stomach until lunchtime, although he was a little surprised that they hadn’t thought to set up a vending machine here instead.

One of the things that most intrigued Mr Sato during his visit was the media kit being distributed to visitors. Once he’d received his bag of goods, he wondered what might be inside, given that the media centre was set up for the Olympics.

▼ Could this sack be filled with special Olympics merchandise?

He emptied the contents out onto one of the tables and found: a clear “Tokyo Tokyo” file, three leaflets about Tokyo, one brochure showcasing regions around Tokyo, and a booklet detailing the reconstruction of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures, with a QR code that takes you to a site showing the current state of the disaster-struck regions in VR.

▼ All but one of the brochures were written in English, which came as a bit of a surprise to Mr Sato, who wasn’t able to fully understand them.

Also included in the pack was a vinyl furoshiki cloth and a chequered tenugui cloth promoting something called the “Tokyo Tokyo Festival”.

▼ Rounding off the haul were postcards, stickers, a tin badge, a pen, a notepad, and a mini water bottle.

It wasn’t a bad swag, and all the Tokyo branding on the goods made our reporter realise that this was a venue set up by the Tokyo government to promote the city and the regions outside of it to visiting media delegations.

The only problem was, there wasn’t any international media to be found at the site.

That’s likely because they’re all reporting back to their home countries over at the Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre, which have been set up to handle the demands of the international media. Still, for what it’s worth, the Tokyo Media Centre, which is said to function as a media coverage base and information provider, will be open throughout the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with a number of events on the calendar, including talks and presentations in English.

Here’s hoping there’ll be visitors there to attend the events in future, and enjoy the free goodie bag, because every visitor to Japan ought to go home with their own cute furoshiki!

Tokyo Sports Square (Tokyo Media Centre) / 東京スポーツスクエア(東京メディアセンター)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 3-8-3
Open 8 a.m.-8p.m. (21 July-9 August, 23 August-5 September)

Photos: ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]