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Take all steps to protect 2020 Games from terrorism, heat and traffic jams

The Yomiuri ShimbunJuly 24 marks one year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

This sporting event of unprecedented scale, with a record-high 33 sports at 42 competition venues, has now reached the stage at which preparations should be made with actual situations in mind. It is important to take necessary measures to ensure the success of the Games.

Since last month, there have been test events to check how the games are run. Test events for modern pentathlon and surfing had been held, followed by events for golf and triathlon.

Is the allocation of event staff appropriate? Are there any problems with the equipment? Issues have to be identified, with the lessons learned put to use in the actual operation of the Games.

More than anything, measures against heat are important. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games plans to set up large spot coolers and rest areas for spectators who watch competitions under the blazing sun. It is also considering whether to allow spectators to bring drinks in plastic bottles into the venues for hydration.

Flexible measures should be taken to meet the actual situations of each venue.

For smooth operation of the Games, the smooth transportation of athletes and other related people is necessary. In this light, easing of traffic jams in Tokyo will be a large task.

Important job for Yamashita

On Wednesday and Friday, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the organizing committee are conducting social experiments to check whether traffic volume can be curbed on both days with such measures as closing some of the toll gates of the Metropolitan Expressway. It is a trial to see if it is possible to control traffic volume by reducing the number of vehicles entering central Tokyo.

It is necessary to determine the extent to which inconvenience to general users is acceptable.

During the Games, about 10 million people from Japan and abroad are expected to visit the venues. Trains also, carrying morning and evening commuters, will likely become overcrowded. Corporations need to cooperate with off-peak commuting and at-home work.

Another key to the success of the Games is counterterrorism measures. There are concerns about terrorist attacks using vehicles and disruptive acts using drones.

Global events tend to be easy targets for cyber-attacks. The Pyeongchang Winter Games was hit by cyber-attacks causing system failures. There is a risk that computer systems in critical infrastructure, such as electric power, could be attacked via business partner companies.

The ministries and agencies concerned should take measures with all possible risks in mind, in cooperation with private companies.

From now on, the selection of athletes to represent Japan will get into full swing in each sport. In aquatics, some athletes have secured spots to represent Japan in diving.

Late last month, judo gold medalist Yasuhiro Yamashita was named president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC). He is urged to guide each sport’s organization to carry out fair selections and to develop environments for athletes to exert their abilities.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 24, 2019)Speech



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