Amid health concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Japan is bracing for a possible deadly contagion with less than six months to go until next summer’s Games. Meanwhile, the athletes’ village is approaching its completion. Here’s the latest on those topics and more in a new Olympic Update:
CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK RAISES CONCERNS AS TOKYO 2020 FAST-APPROACHES
Per Reuters, an outbreak of a new virus in China has raised fears of a global pandemic, forcing Japan to confront the possibility of deadly contagion and disruption as it prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Thus far, the disease has claimed the lives of over 200 and affecting over 9,000, which has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a world health emergency.
At the time, the Organizing Committee for the 2020 Games has not released specific details as to what measures might be enforced during the Games.
RENOVATIONS AT TOKYO 2020 FACILITIES LEADING TO SHORTAGE OF SPORTS AND EXHIBITION SPACES
According to The Japan Times, renovation work on Olympic and Paralympic venues in Tokyo has been making it difficult for people to find places to play tennis and for companies to hold exhibitions.
To make sporting facilities available for citizens, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched a program in 2018 for universities and companies to make their gyms, baseball fields, tennis courts and other facilities available to the public.
WOOD-FRAMED FACILITY AT ATHLETES’ VILLAGE ALMOST COMPLETE
Per Japan’s news service Kyodo, the 2020 Organizing Committee announced Wednesday that construction is largely on track for the Village Plaza, one of the main facilities of the athletes’ village, and which is made with wood donated by 63 prefectures from across Japan.
About 40,000 pieces of wood from 63 municipalities from Hokkaido in the north to Kagoshima in the southwest have gone into the floor and columns of the 5,300-square meter facility in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward.
Construction began in March last year and is set for completion in April.
OLYMPIC FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND HERITAGE CREATES FIRST “OLYMPIC AGORA” IN TOKYO
Greek towns had an agora – a vibrant public space where the people gathered to eat, drink, sing, buy, sell, discuss politics and revel in urban life. For Tokyo 2020, the “Olympic Agora” will come to between April 24 and Aug. 16 in the city’s Nihonbashi district.
Here, the Olympic Movement’s link between sport and culture will be on bright display, showcasing the worldwide cultural and social impact of the Olympic Games. This colorful destination will encourage intercultural dialogue, bringing Japan and the world together in both a physical space and the digital realm through social media.
A range of activities and events will welcome the public in a fun and festive atmosphere and bring beloved Olympic treasures to Nihonbashi, the business district that is often called the “center of Japan”, including the torches and medals from past Games.
The Olympic Agora, decorated with “Olympic Welcome” banners, will launch with an exhibition dedicated to Olympic Art and Culture at Mitsui Memorial Museum in late April 2020.