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Not really news, but Heisei Era officially ends in April 30, 2019 with Akihito abdication. Most of us saw it coming but its confirmed now Naruhito will be the Emperor and open the games in 2020. His coronation will take place in May 1st. 



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110,000 volunteers sought for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics


The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is seeking about 110,000 volunteers to assist in the global extravaganza, it was announced on March 28.

The draft guidelines state that the application period for those wishing to volunteer will run from mid-September to early December. The organizers will then screen applicants and hold interviews before training the successful candidates. Individuals aged 18 or older as of April 1, 2020, are eligible to apply, but the committee also plans to promote the participation of junior high and high school students by creating a new framework.

The organizing committee will recruit 80,000 "games volunteers" and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will organize 30,000 "city volunteers." The former will work at events related to facilities such as competition venues and the Olympic village to provide services for spectators, support for event operations and other activities. The latter will provide tourist and transportation information at airports, major train stations, sightseeing areas and around train stations close to competition venues.

Nine work fields are available for games volunteers, including providing guidance at venues, support for event operations and the media, and serving as drivers. Applicants can choose up to three fields they wish to work in. The games volunteers are expected to work for at least 10 days during the Olympics and Paralympics. The committee is seeking people who are knowledgeable about the games, have experience volunteering or have language skills such as in English.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes city volunteers can work for around five hours per day, and are expected to work for at least five days.

Successful candidates will receive uniforms, food and drink, but those who live outside Tokyo will have to pay their costs of transportation to the capital and accommodation costs.

Experts with special qualifications, such as doctors, will be sought to volunteer through another system.

For junior high and high school students, the committee is considering recruiting volunteers to work as ball persons for tennis, polishing basketball courts and to play music for spectators waiting to enter events.


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I wonder if some the delays are due to the fact that the Tokyo budget is getting out of control and the organizing committee is scrambling to try to cut costs where they can. I find it extremely difficult to believe that Tokyo is going to pull this off with a $12 billion budget.



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Japan enacts law to move holidays to ease traffic for 2020 Olympics


June 13, 2018 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese parliament on Wednesday enacted a law to move national holidays to days linked to Tokyo 2020 Olympic ceremonies to alleviate traffic congestion in the metropolitan area.

Under the revised law aimed at smooth transport and security for the Olympics, July 23, the eve of the Games, July 24, the day of the opening ceremony and Aug. 10, the day after the closing ceremony, will be made holidays for 2020, as many important guests including foreign dignitaries are expected to travel to and from Japan on these days.

Marine Day on the third Monday of July will be moved to July 23, while Sports Day, on the second Monday of October, will be moved up to July 24, and Mountain Day on Aug. 11 will shift to Aug. 10.

Meanwhile, the Diet also enacted Japan's first law to prevent doping. The law allows the sports minister to request customs and immigration authorities as well as police to provide athletes' personal information as part of efforts to detect illicit practices by Olympic and Paralympic athletes coming to the country.


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Organisers firm up schedule for 2020 Tokyo Olympics


The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday endorsed the schedule of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it was announced by organisers, with 33 sports, 339 events and running from July 24 until August 9.

Preliminary matches will kick off in football and softball on July 22, two days before the opening ceremony with rowing and archery events on the day of the ceremony itself.

Day one of the Olympics will feature events in 21 different sports, including shooting, table tennis, judo, badminton, gymnastics, tennis and cycling.

"This will be a symbolic and scenic first day of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, featuring the men's cycling road race winding its way from Tokyo to the foothills of the world-famous Mount Fuji," said a statement.

Five sports have been added to programme with skateboarding and surfing making their debut on the first weekend.

"I believe the Tokyo 2020 Games will generate more enthusiasm than ever. Starting with a softball match in Fukushima two days before the opening of the Games, until the men's marathon on the final day, a record 33 sports and 339 events will be packed into the two weeks of the Games," said Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori.

August 1 will be a 'Super Saturday', with a number of medal events scheduled to be held on that day, including events featuring for the first time in the Olympic Games, such as the judo mixed team event, triathlon mixed team relay, and shooting trap mixed team event.

The 2020 Games will use a total of 42 venues, including 24 existing, 10 temporary and eight new permanent venues.

These will include three venues in Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Miyagi prefectures, which were among those most affected by the 2011 tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster.

The competition schedule by session for swimming, synchronised swimming, and diving will be finalised shortly, said organisers.

Day one of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will feature events in 21 different sports, including shooting, table tennis, judo, badminton, gymnastics, tennis and cycling, organizers determined


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6 hours ago, Quaker2001 said:

And here is said competition schedule.. Olympic Sports Competition Schedule

I assume they’re still working out morning finals for swimming so that they can be shown live during U.S. primetime.  Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of good events available for live primetime coverage unless some of the premier track events are held during the morning session.  None of the gymnastics will be live in primetime.  It’ll be interesting to see how NBC structures their primetime coverage based on this schedule.

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1 hour ago, Barcelona_'92 said:

I assume they’re still working out morning finals for swimming so that they can be shown live during U.S. primetime.  Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of good events available for live primetime coverage unless some of the premier track events are held during the morning session.  None of the gymnastics will be live in primetime.  It’ll be interesting to see how NBC structures their primetime coverage based on this schedule.

I read on a swimming website that they're holding out on finalizing the schedule because they added the women's 1500 free and the men's 800 free, so they're debating adding a 9th day of swimming.  And they also noted that FINA is in discussions with NBC, so I have a feeling we'll see a Beijing-like setup.

Gymnastics wasn't in primetime during Rio either.  That it was during the afternoon there I believe was a concession to European rightsholders, so that might be what's at play here.  I think NBC is okay with gymnastics on tape anyway.  They'll have plenty of beach volleyball available to them.  I'm sure they'll push for a few key track finals in the morning much like we saw in Rio.  Plus some other sports.  I think it'll be a lot like Beijing where there was a lot of live coverage in week 1.  Not so much in week 2.  This won't be a redux of PyeongChang (which is a shame, because I thought that was great), but I'm sure it'll be similar with respect to primetime being a combination of some live coverage and some events on tape.

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Swimming finals in the morning is much better for spectators than 10pm start time like in was in Rio. I did 2 nights of swimming and didnt get back to my accommodation until 2.30am

I have already started my spreadsheet with must see events and very much looking froward to paying Cosport an exaggerated exchange rate and service fee for little to no service.

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11 hours ago, Hobart said:

Swimming finals in the morning is much better for spectators than 10pm start time like in was in Rio. I did 2 nights of swimming and didnt get back to my accommodation until 2.30am

I have already started my spreadsheet with must see events and very much looking froward to paying Cosport an exaggerated exchange rate and service fee for little to no service.

I would expect NBC to get their way here, which likely means morning swimming.  Because Tokyo is an hour further away from the East coast of the U.S. than Beijing (and also because NBC finally stopped their practice of time-shifting coverage to the West Coast this year), I would expect 11am local start times for swimming in 2020.  That equates to 10pm on the East coast, same time they had it in London.

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Japan heatwave: Temperature breaks national record

Temperatures in Japan have hit a record high, with officials issuing a fresh warning to stay safe.

Japan has for days been in the grip of a deadly heatwave, although the numbers reported killed vary widely from 15 to as high as 40.

On Monday, the thermometer peaked at 41.1C (106F) in Kumagaya, near Tokyo, breaking the previous national record of 41C from 2013.

More than a dozen cities have seen temperatures of about 40C.

Japan's disaster management agency urged people to stay in air-conditioned spaces, drink water and rest to prevent heat exhaustion.

"People in areas where temperatures are as high as 35 degrees or higher should be extremely careful" to avoid heatstroke, a meteorological agency official told news agency AFP.

"And even at lower temperatures, the heat can be dangerous for small children and elderly people, and depending on the environment and activities you are doing," the official warned.

In Yokohama, a city south of Tokyo, people took part in an event known as uchimizu, or "water ceremony" - pouring or sprinkling cold water on to the hot pavements in an attempt to cool them. 

Already this summer, more than 10,000 people have been taken to hospital as a result of the heat, according to the country's Kyodo news agency.

On Monday, a number of senior citizens died as a result of the intense heat in prefectures surrounding Tokyo, according to the local authorities.

A day earlier, the Tokyo Fire Department dispatched ambulances some 3,125 times within the capital, the largest figure for a day since it began emergency services in 1936, as heatstroke and exhaustion contributed to emergency calls, AFP reports.

Tokyo's governor, Yuriko Koike, said the recent heatwave was "exactly like living in a sauna".

The previous high was the 41C recorded in the western prefecture of Kochi in August 2013, the Japan Meteorological Agency says.

**The current heatwave being the hottest on record has raised some concerns about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Olympic officials and Tokyo's local government have been discussing measures from solar-blocking paint on roads to mobile misting stations to tackle the heat.

Ms Koike said the concerns were not just for the athletes participating in the games, but for spectators "who are cheering on the road". 

"Countermeasures against heat is one of the major pillars for the success of the 2020 Olympics," she told reporters at a press conference on Monday.**


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So we had the media making a feast out of the extreme cold in Pyeongchang, now it will be the same in Tokyo, but for the opossite weather. :lol: 

It seems they've decided to start the Marathon at an early hour of the morning, in order to prevent athletes facing the harhser temperatures of the afternoon. Looks like Qatar will not be alone concerning hot weather issues now. 

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19 hours ago, yoshi said:

So that's why the 64 games were in October... Always seemed odd looking at the historic dates, but it makes sense if this is a common thing (if not this extreme)

I believe the dates of the `64 Olympics were more about avoiding peak typhoon season in Japan (which is mostly late August and September) than the heat

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Actor Nomura to oversee Tokyo 2020 ceremonies

Actor Mansai Nomura will orchestrate the opening and closing ceremonies for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it was announced Monday.

Following an executive board meeting of the organizers in Fukushima Prefecture, Nomura was named as the chief executive creative director overseeing all four ceremonies.

Nomura is best known in Japan for his performances as an actor featuring in kyogen, a traditional form of comedic theater. The 52-year-old won the prize for the best actor at the prestigious Blue Ribbon Awards in 2001.

“He is the person who is to carry out the image and the message of Tokyo 2020,” said Honorary President Fujio Mitarai.

“That person has the role of implementing our spirit and vision of the Tokyo 2020 Games at all four ceremonies,” Mitarai said.

“Mansai Nomura is a renowned figure, both domestically and internationally and he is knowledgeable in both traditional Japanese art and modern theatrical art.”

The board meeting was held at the recently re-opened J-Village complex in Fukushima Prefecture. The facility, which previously played host to the Argentine soccer team during the 2002 World Cup, was used as a base for rescue teams working in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The disasters killed approximately 18,000 people and also severely damaged the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, rendering much of the area near the J-Village a no-go zone.

The re-opening of the J-Village last week is a symbol of the reconstruction that Tokyo 2020 hopes to encourage in the region.

“We wanted a source of hope for the nation and now our dreams are coming true and we are seeing a gradual revival of the disaster-hit areas,” said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori.

“We are able to show to the world what we have been able to accomplish so far and where we are headed in terms of the reconstruction efforts since the disaster,” Mori added.

The games’ torch relay will start in Miyagi Prefecture, which also suffered widespread damaged in the disasters, before passing through nearby Fukushima and Iwate prefectures in a symbolic tour.

During the meeting, Mori, a former prime minister, also proposed to introduce daylight saving time in Japan before the Olympics.

Japan currently does not introduce the practice, including during the summer months, when the sun rises very early bringing with it the heat and humidity that was behind the recent record-breaking heat wave in the country.


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They will still be part of it, just not in director position.



Kyogen actor to direct Tokyo 2020 ceremonies

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have appointed Kyogen actor Nomura Mansai as chief director of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2020 events.

The organizing committee made the announcement on Monday.

Committee officials said they chose Nomura because he is active as a Kyogen and film actor, as well as director, at home and abroad. They added he is also well informed in both the traditional and modern aspects of Japan.

The committee also chose film director Takashi Yamazaki to play a key role in creating stories and making arrangements for Olympic ceremonies. Yamazaki is best known for his film series "Always -- Sunset on Third Street."

Creative director Hiroshi Sasaki will be responsible for the Paralympic ceremonies. Sasaki has made many TV commercials and was involved in the directing of the flag handover ceremony at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Musician Ringo Shi-ina, film producer Genki Kawamura and 3 others will join the team to discuss how to arrange the ceremonies.

Nomura and the others are expected to consider how to direct each ceremony after laying out the common basic principles. Topics will include the design of the Olympic flame cauldron and how to light it.


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Tokyo 2020 to up security with facial recognition system

(Reuters) - Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympics to use facial recognition technology to increase security around all venues, the organizers announced on Tuesday.

Games organizers have linked up with Japanese telecommunications and information technology giant NEC to develop the first system of this kind to be implemented at an Olympics.

The technology, which was demonstrated to the media at an event in the Japanese capital, will use IC chips within identification cards to automatically verify the identity of those entering over 40 venues.

More than 300,000 athletes and Games staff will have to submit photographs to a database before the Olympics start in July 2020.

"Every time they enter the facility, they have to do a security check," explained Tokyo 2020’s head of security Tsuyoshi Iwashita.

"Tokyo’s venues doesn’t always have enough space for the security check or even space to wait for the security check. When the events are happening, we expect many people to come and the weather will be very hot. This is why we introduced this facial recognition."

The system will not be aimed at spectators and will instead concentrate on strengthening security and decreasing waiting times for athletes.

"More than 40 facilities, including the main stadium, International Broadcast Centre, the Olympic village and so on, will have the facial recognition system," said NEC Senior Vice President Masaaki Suganuma. 

"Athletes, Games staff, volunteers and the media will have this recognition."

NEC said they tested the technology during the Rio 2016 Olympics and that the technology has already been implemented in various locations, including airports.

During the demonstration to media, the technology correctly identified a string of people, including those in wheelchairs and of varying heights, which is a key feature of NEC’s system.

Suanuma said: "99.7 percent of the time, the face is recognized by the system correctly.

"This number will not change according to nationality or if big or small."


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I know that this isn’t necessarily about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but it’s about how the 2026 Asian Games, which are slated for Japan, are going to be held in late Sept/early Oct. in order to avoid Japan’s notorious summer heat, which is becoming a concern for Tokyo 2020 in the middle of August. If it wasn’t for NBC, I’m sure the IOC would like to have the Tokyo 2020 Games in October like they did back in the fall of 1964.


*Asian Games: Aichi, Nagoya to co-host 2026 edition in fall to avoid heat*

JAKARTA (Kyodo) -- Aichi Prefecture and Nagoya, the co-hosts of the 2026 Asian Games, will hold the event from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 to avoid Japan's summer heat, the Olympic Council of Asia formally decided on Sunday.

The fall dates for the 16-day competition were set at an OCA general assembly attended by Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura and Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura. The 2026 Games host city contract was also signed during a special ceremony.

The co-hosts hope to give due consideration to athlete performance and spectators at venues by staging the competition in fall, avoiding the sweltering summer heat that has proven a concern during preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The quadrennial summer multi-sport event, the world's largest after the Olympics, will be hosted by Japan for the third time.

Japan hosted the 1958 Tokyo Games and the 1994 Hiroshima Games as well as four editions of the winter Asian Games, including the most recent edition in Sapporo in 2017.

Aichi and Nagoya were chosen as hosts of the 2026 Games at the OCA general assembly in 2016.

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