Downtown street closed as Tokyo welcomes 6,300 lawyers

Tokyo has successfully hosted yet another large conference with the city continuing to show its prowess for major events as the Olympics approach in 2020.

The annual conference of the International Bar Association saw 6,300 lawyers attend meetings at Tokyo International Forum (TIF), the main venue for IBA Tokyo.

The week-long conference opened on October 19 with a ceremony attended by the Emperor and Empress of Japan; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered an open address.

Post-conference and spousal activities included traditional yosakoi dancing, events in izakayas and cruises on Tokyo Bay. During the welcome reception, the lobby gallery of the Tokyo International Forum – usually used as a walkway between two of the busiest train stations in Japan – was closed off for the private use of IBA, where the streetscapes of the Edo era were recreated featuring greeters wearing kimonos and traditional yosakoi dancing.

The main street of the Marunouchi business district became a temporary café space for delegates. It was the first time that the road was closed for conference purposes.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Business Events team at Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau stepped in to assist the conference by organising student volunteers to guide the delegates to their destination. They also supported the conference by providing flags and banners in the surrounding shopping streets, providing city information desks at airports and on‐site and organising sightseeing tours in Tokyo.

Cultural programmes including the art of dressing in kimono, flower arrangement (ikebana) and creating Japanese woodblock prints were also offered to attendees, many of whom were first time visitors to Japan.

During the conference, 398 sessions were held with topics ranging from human rights and family law to intellectual property and aviation law discussed by delegates, 90 per cent of whom had travelled from overseas to attend the conference.

Marc Pursals, the congress organiser of Judy Lane Consulting, said: “The conference was excellent. It was well organised and things went smoothly on site. We received fantastic comments from our delegates. Costs in Tokyo were reasonable, and the quality of service was very high.”



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