Olympic Update: Olympics To Go Smoke-Free Plus Further 2011 Tsunami Remembrance

From a smoke-free Japan Sport Olympic Square to bouquets produced in quake-hit areas, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee plans to bring to light the reconstruction of the areas that were devastated during the 2011 tsunami and earthquake while minimizing the pollution produced during next summer’s Games. Here’s the latest on that and much more in this decade’s last Olympic Update as we ready to enter the Olympic year.

JAPAN AIRLINES TO GIVE AWAY FREE ROUND TRIP FLIGHTS DURING THE GAMES

Per The Japan Times, Japan Airlines will offer free round-trip domestic flight tickets to up to 50,000 foreign tourists during next summer’s Games.

The campaign aims to encourage those who visit for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to travel to rural areas in the country and experience local attractions.

Japan Airlines will begin accepting applications in late February, with the free tickets to be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

HOTEL ROOM SHORTAGE EXPECTED DURING THE GAMES

Business Insider reports that an estimated 10 million visitors are expected to descend on Tokyo next summer for the 2020 Olympics. However, the Japanese capital might not have room for them all.

The city is facing a hotel room shortage of an estimated 14,000 rooms each day of the Olympics, per the Nikkei Asian Review, leaving the city scrambling to find alternatives to house millions of tourists.

Earlier last summer we reported that one strategy to combat the room shortage is for cruise ships docked at the Tokyo International Cruise Terminal to be turned into floating hotels. This conversion would present an estimated 2,116 rooms, with the cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki planning to follow suit.

OLYMPICS COST TO EXCEED ORIGINAL FORECAST

Per the LA Times, Japan could end up spending more than $26 billion on the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics — far more than the $7.3 billion originally forecast — according to estimates released earlier this month.

Japanese media have placed overall spending between $26 billion and $28 billion, more than tripling the cost officials predicted when the International Olympic Committee selected the Japanese capital as host in the fall of 2013.

JAPAN SPORT OLYMPIC SQUARE TO GO SMOKE-FREE

According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, Japan Sport Olympic Square, one of the major administrative hubs for the 2020 Tokyo Games, will become completely smoke-free from next year, the Japanese Olympic Committee said Wednesday.

The Japanese Olympic Committee and Japan’s Sports Association, which share the site with several other sporting bodies, said the smoking room will be removed from the building come April 1.

According to the two organizations, the move is aimed at “preventing health damage from passive smoking and establishing a healthy working environment,” while also improving the image of Japan’s sporting bodies.

While smoking areas are a feature of many facilities used by the public in Japan, competition venues at the Tokyo Games will be completely smoke-free.

A new law targeting smoking took effect in Japan in July, banning people from lighting up indoors on government agency, school, and hospital establishments, with bars or restaurants to face similar rule changes next year.

OLYMPIC MEDALISTS WILL BE AWARDED BOUQUETS FROM 2011 QUAKE-HIT AREAS

Per Japanese news agency Kyodo, the 2020 Tokyo Games Organizing Committee plans to use flowers produced in areas struck by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami for victory bouquets awarded to Olympic and Paralympic medalists.

The plan to use flowers from three prefectures -Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate- is aimed at showing appreciation to people around the world for their support in rebuilding the devastated areas, the Organizing Committee said.

Around 5,000 bouquets will be prepared for the Games, and are expected to be a combination of prairie gentians from Fukushima, sunflowers and roses from Miyagi, and gentians from Iwate.

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