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Editorial: Thorough preparations essential for success of 2020 Tokyo Games

  • April 24, 2019
  • , The Japan News , 8:07 p.m.
  • English Press

Meticulous preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are required to ensure the Games run smoothly.


The competition schedule for the 2020 Tokyo Games is nearly finalized. The opening ceremony will take place on July 24 from 8 p.m. Two days before the ceremony, softball will kick off the Games in Fukushima ahead of the other events.


At last, it truly feels like the event is almost upon us.


The main feature of the competition timetable is that finals of about 20 sporting events have been scheduled to take place almost every day. Finals will be particularly concentrated on Saturdays and Sundays, with a high of 30 scheduled on Aug. 8.


To ensure the excitement of the Games continues without interruption, devising the schedule in such a way is understandable.


The men’s and women’s marathons have been set to start at 6 a.m., and the men’s 50-kilometer race walk at 5:30 a.m. to protect against the summer heat. Although such a timetable is unavoidable to reduce the risk of heatstroke, it is essential to consider how to assign event volunteers, some of whom will need to begin preparations before dawn.


Some competitions, including volleyball, are expected to end at 11:30 p.m. Railway companies have said they will move back their last trains of each day by 30 minutes to 90 minutes.


Efforts should be made to make sure no spectators or staff for these events are left stranded at stations.


The finals of some swimming races, and track and field events — highly popular among sports enthusiasts — will take place in the morning. This was the result of pressure from the International Olympic Committee to show consideration for a U.S. TV network that is paying a huge amount for broadcasting rights as U.S. athletes are strong in such events.


Prevent scalping


The movement of spectators will overlap with the commuting hours in areas in and around Tokyo, where train schedules are liable to be disrupted. To avoid confusion, there have been calls for such cooperation as permitting staggered work hours and telecommuting, which allows people to work outside the office.


Domestic applications for tickets will be available from May 9.


Applicants will need to register their names on the official website and select their desired events and seats. If ticket holders are unable to attend an event, they will be able to sell their tickets at listed prices through the website.


At the Pyeongchang Winter Games of 2018, a large number of unoccupied seats — presumably a result of speculative ticket purchases — was seen as a problem. There is every reason to take necessary measures to prevent large ticket purchases for unlawful reselling purposes.


In June, a law banning online ticket scalping will take effect, with tickets for Olympic competitions subject to the rule. Major internet auction operators have prohibited such listings on their sites. Efforts should be made to properly monitor these sites to prevent the spread of unlawful ticket reselling.


Completing online ticket purchase procedures is somewhat difficult for elderly people who are not accustomed to using computing devices. Measures of some sort should be considered to address the matter.


The 2020 Games will host a record 33 sports at 42 venues. Although some competitions may be unfamiliar, offering cheers of encouragement for athletes at Olympic venues will certainly contribute to the success of the Games.

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