Tokyo 2020 Chronology (Page 4/4): 2021

In 2021, the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, anxiety, and divisiveness. Amid calls for a cancelation and all the negativity in the media, Tokyo 2020 bows to pressure and regretfully decides to ban overseas spectators and even local spectators. Meanwhile, spectators are allowed at pro baseball and soccer games and sumo. In the end, the Games are held safely and successfully with majority public support buoyed by Japan’s record haul of medals.

Go to:
Jan. 2021 | Feb. 2021 | Mar. 2021 | Apr. 2021 | May 2021 | June 2021

July 2021 | Aug. 2021 | Sept. 2021 | Oct. 2021 | Nov. 2021 | Dec. 2021 | Photos

Other years:
2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

IOC: International Olympic Committee
IPC: International Paralympic Committee
TOCOG: Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
TMG: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
NOC: National Olympic Committee
NPC: National Paralympic Committee
Five organizers: TOCOG, IOC, IPC, TMG, and government of Japan
WHO: World Health Organization
All venues also have a three-letter abbreviation.

🔴 Important events and milestones for Tokyo 2020.
🍀 Important developments and milestones for Games volunteers (“Field Cast”).

*Japanese personal names are written with the family name before the given name.
*Click/tap on the image thumbnail to enlarge the image.
*Special thanks to Games volunteer and staff friends who contributed photos.
*To correct any errors in this chronology, contact us.

Compiled and written by Philbert Ono (former TOCOG employee)
Updated: Nov. 30, 2021


Olympic rings lit up in white in Odaiba with Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower
Flanked by yakata-bune dinner tour boats, Olympic rings lit up in white in Odaiba with Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower in the background.

Early January 2021: Soon after New Year’s, the number of Covid cases reach record levels in Tokyo (2,000+ cases/day). News media and social media in and outside Japan continue to bash Tokyo 2020 and spread negativity.

January 7, 2021: Second State of Emergency consequently starts in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures. Ends on March 22, 2021.

January 13, 2021: Due to the spread of the coronavirus variant overseas, Japan bans even business travelers hitherto permitted to travel from 11 countries (China, Korea, etc.) and regions. This in effect bans all foreigners from entering Japan.

January 19, 2021: Three people in Shizuoka Prefecture become the first in Japan who had never traveled overseas to be found infected with the coronavirus variant from the UK. The other 40+ cases of the coronavirus variant in Japan were all people who had been overseas.

January 21, 2021: Citing an unnamed senior member of Japan’s ruling coalition, The Times in the UK reports that the Japanese government has “privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus.” This is flatly denied by the IOC, Japanese government, TOCOG, and TMG.

🍀Late January 2021: Volunteers start to receive the “Shift schedule survey” to indicate which days they are unavailable for volunteer duty.


🔴 February 3–March 16, 2021: IOC and TOCOG issue the first “playbooks” for international sports federations, athletes, and the media. The downloadable playbooks (PDFs) provide basic, common-sense guidelines and rules for Covid. They are updated in the coming months.

🔴 February 3, 2021: Tokyo 2020 announces that athletes and officials will not be required to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to take part in Tokyo 2020.

February 3, 2021: TOCOG President Mori Yoshiro makes sexist remarks about women in Olympic committees “talking too much, making meetings longer.” They become a media firestorm.

February 4, 2021: TOCOG President Mori Yoshiro goes before the press and reads a standard statement of apology for his sexist remarks the day before. No intention of resigning. Defiant attitude toward questions from the press. The IOC says Mori’s apology makes it “Case closed” even though the Japanese media and public want Mori to resign. Later on its website on Feb. 9, the IOC backtracks and strongly condemns Mori’s sexist remarks as going against the Olympic pledge.

🍀February 7, 2021: Volunteers receive an apology email from TOCOG for Mori Yoshiro’s sexist remarks. TMG receives over 500 phone calls complaining about Mori.

🍀February 8, 2021: It is reported that 390 Games volunteers dropped out due to Mori Yoshiro’s sexist remarks. The number increases to 1,000 by Feb. 23, 2021.

🍀February 12, 2021: TOCOG president Mori Yoshiro apologizes again and resigns for his sexist remarks about women. His preference for sports administrator Kawabuchi Saburo (84) to replace him is also quickly shot down by people not wanting to see another elderly man at the helm.

Mori later mentions that his wife, daughter, and granddaughter also scolded him.

February 14, 2021: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine becomes the first in Japan to be approved for use.

February 17, 2021: COVID-19 vaccinations in Japan finally start with 40,000 healthcare workers inoculated with Pfizer’s vaccine.

February 17, 2021: Shimane Prefectural Governor Maruyama Tatsuya states that the Games should not be held while the pandemic is uncontrollable and he does not want to hold the torch relay in Shimane scheduled for May 2021. He would make a final decision in about a month. (Torch relay in Shimane is held as scheduled.)

🔴 February 18, 2021: To replace Mori Yoshiro, Hashimoto Seiko resigns her post as Minister of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be appointed as the new TOCOG President.

🔴 February 18, 2021: To replace Hashimoto Seiko, Marukawa Tamayo is appointed Minister of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games for her second time.

February 2021: Covid vaccinations finally start in Japan with healthcare workers. Followed by seniors (65+) and people with underlying conditions. Vaccinations to be free in Japan.

MARCH 2021

March 3, 2021: As a result of Mori’s sexist remarks, TOCOG announces 12 women joining its executive board to increase the percentage of women on the board from 20 percent to 42 percent. They including Sydney 2000 Olympic marathon gold medalist Takahashi Naoko.

March 10, 2021: Thomas Bach is reelected as IOC president for a final four-year term.

March 11, 2021: Thomas Bach states that the COVID-19 vaccine from China would be made available to Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 athletes.

TOCOG President Hashimoto Seiko states the next day that vaccination would not be required for athletes at Tokyo 2020. Olympic Minister Marukawa states any Chinese vaccine would first have to be approved in Japan, so it currently cannot target Japanese athletes.

March 18, 2021: Sasaki Hiroshi, Olympics creative director for the Tokyo Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, resigns after Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported the day before that he had a brainstorming idea in 2020 to have comedian Watanabe Naomi appear at the Opening Ceremony dressed as a pig, called “Olympig.” His brainstorming proposal, made in a online, private chat group with his work colleagues, was quickly rejected, but apparently later leaked to the magazine.

🔴 March 20, 2021: Following a meeting between TOCOG, IOC, IPC, TMG, and the Japanese government (five organizers), Japan sadly decides to disallow overseas spectators from Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics to minimize the Covid risk especially with the unpredictable coronavirus variants. This still leaves the door open to domestic spectators.

The IOC had stated that it would agree with whatever Japan decides, while Sebastian Coe (President of World Athletics) had urged organizers not to rush their decision on overseas fans.

🍀 The news cause much concern among Games volunteers overseas regarding whether they would be allowed to enter Japan.

🔴 Ticket refunds from authorized ticket resellers (ATRs) overseas soon become a major headache and uproar especially when CoSport sends an email on March 27, 2021 stating that the 20 percent handling fees would not be refunded to US customers since it was already spent by the company. About 600,000 Olympic tickets and 30,000 Paralympic tickets had been sold to overseas customers.

NHK TV reports that TOCOG decided during a board meeting not to allow most of the 2,300 overseas volunteers into Japan
NHK TV reports that TOCOG decided not to allow most of the 2,300 overseas volunteers into Japan.

🍀March 22, 2021: Following a board meeting, TOCOG regretfully announces that they have decided to disallow non-Japanese, overseas Games volunteers from entering Japan, forcing them to withdraw as volunteers. However, only 500 overseas volunteers with special skills, experience, or qualifications would be allowed entry. They would be notified directly. (They included some equestrian and fencing volunteers.) Overseas volunteers who are Japanese nationals would still be allowed in.

Affected overseas volunteers receive no official advance notice about this decision. They first hear about it on the news like everyone else. Great disappointment and sadness among volunteers overseas and in Japan.

🍀It was reported for the first time that out of the 9,000+ volunteers who are foreign nationals, only 2,300 are overseas and the rest are Japan residents. Only 2.8 percent of the 80,000 volunteers are overseas residents.

🔴 March 25–July 23, 2021: Delayed by a year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay begins at the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture. The torch relay slogan is “Hope Lights Our Way.” With a total of 10,515 torch bearers, the torch relay is to proceed to all 47 prefectures. However, in some cities, the torch relay is taken off public roads and substituted with a lighting ceremony to prevent crowds.

With the national mood still muted, a few celebrity torch bearers drop out. To prevent crowding, people are discouraged to see the torch relay. If it gets too crowded, the relay may skip that leg. However, this is never been implemented.
There is staff (or volunteers) telling people to disperse if the roadside gets too crowded.

The torch relay was originally designed to attract crowds. So the torch route is mostly on the busiest roads of the city.

Spring 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

Late March 2021 – April 2021: With numerous online want ads, Japanese event companies recruit part-timers and temp workers for Tokyo 2020. Job ads do not mention “Olympics/Paralympics” by name, but they strongly hint that it is for the Olympics: “Huge international sporting event in Tokyo this summer,” “rare and memorable opportunity,” and “once in a lifetime chance!” The work dates coincide with the Games. No experience necessary and simple training to be provided.

Available jobs include:
・Venue/event/concert staff (crowd control, guide spectators to their seats, check staff accreditation to enter the venue, information desk, take people’s temperature, guide disabled people to transportation, venue setup and cleanup).
・VIP pavilion staff for foreign guests (receptionist, information desk, cloak room, guide to tables, serve drinks, translator/interpreter, English required; minimum TOEIC score 700).
・Ticket office staff at Olympic venues (which means there may be plans to sell tickets during the Games). Venues include the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Village, and Baji Koen (Equestrian Park).
・Warehouse/inventory staff (inspect, sort, and ship out goods). Goods include apparel, stationery, masks, hand sanitizer, and packaged snacks.

The jobs pay ¥1,200 to ¥1,800/hour, higher than minimum wage (¥1,000/hour in Tokyo). Commuting expenses and lunch/dinner usually included. Some of the jobs (like those at Olympic venues) will even provide a “nice uniform” that you can keep afterward.

APRIL 2021

Ikee Rikako prayer tablet
At Katori Shrine (God of Victory) in Koto-ku, Ikee Rikako prayer tablet praying for her to get well. Her prayers some true in time for Tokyo 2020.

April 4, 2021: By winning the 100-meter butterfly at Japan’s national swimming championship, Japanese swimmer Ikee Rikako qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics medley relay. The Japanese public is taken by her astounding comeback following her battle with leukemia starting in February 2019. Much welcomed positive news.

Later on May 7, 2021, Ikee tweets that she received messages and comments on Twitter urging her to drop out or urge the organizer to cancel the Olympics. While acknowledging the opposition to the Games, she states that that athletes will accept whatever decision is made and do their best if the Games are held.

April 4, 2021: Wheelchair rugby test event that was postponed is held at Yoyogi National Stadium. Closed to the public.

Early April 2021: FINA test events and Olympic qualifiers for diving scheduled for April 18-23 and artistic swimming on May 1-4 are canceled. Water polo test event on April 10–11 is also canceled because overseas officials are unable to enter Japan due to COVID-19 countermeasures. The Olympic marathon swimming qualifier in Fukuoka in late May is also canceled.

Test events in 2021 are later rescheduled. Aquatics test events are rescheduled for May and June, volleyball on May 1st–2nd at Ariake Arena, artistic swimming on May 1st–4th, marathon in Sapporo on May 5, and athletics at the Olympic Stadium on May 9, 2021. All test events are closed to the public.

April 6, 2021: North Korea announces that it will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics to protect its athletes from the pandemic. As punishment, the IOC later in September 2021 bans North Korea from participating in Beijing 2022.

April 6, 2021: Shimane Prefecture Governor Maruyama who initially wanted to cancel the torch relay, decides to hold it.

April 13–14, 2021: Seeing a record number of cases (1,000+/day), Osaka Prefecture decides to take the torch relay off public roads and hold it at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park closed to the public. Only the torch runners’ family members (up to 4 people each) are allowed in. All the runners are still happy to run with the torch.

🍀April 13, 2021: Three months before the Games, some Field Cast volunteers remain skeptical, anxious, or worried over the Games with regard to Covid amid negative media coverage.

100 Days to Go!" display at a Tokyo 2020 official shop.
“100 Days to Go!” display at a Tokyo 2020 official shop.

April 14, 2021: To mark “100 Days to Go!” on this day, a set of large Olympic rings are unveiled on Mt. Takao in western Tokyo, new pair of official mascot sculptures at TMG in Shinjuku is unveiled by Tokyo Governor Koike, and new outdoor banners at a few venues like Kashima (soccer) are put up.

Organizers continue to insist that they would hold a “safe and secure” Games.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Medical Association chairman Ozaki Haruo warns against holding the Olympics amid the COVID-19 spike: “If infections spread further, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics in its regular form with athletes from various countries, even if there are no spectators,” as he tells Japanese sports paper Sports Hochi.

🔴 April 15, 2021: Nikai Toshihiro, the powerful secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and kingmaker behind Suga Yoshihide becoming prime minister, says canceling the Tokyo Olympics could be an option if the pandemic spreads further. He later tries to backtrack, but his remarks makes major headlines in Japan and around the world, causing undue alarm.

At a press conference soon afterward, TOCOG President Hashimoto flatly denies any thoughts of cancellation.

At this point, the only question remaining was whether to allow spectators or not.

🍀April 22, 2021: Volunteer leader training starts online. First day with two sessions has 310 volunteer leaders total online. More sessions to follow. There are 6,000 volunteer leaders.

April 22, 2021: Third state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and several other prefectures takes effect until early May, but extended to June 20, 2021.

April 28, 2021: The five organizers agree to decide on the number of allowable spectators in June depending on the spread of the coronavirus variant.

April 28–May 10, 2021: Second version of playbooks (PDF files) specifying Covid countermeasures and rules are issued.

April 2021: Torch relay continues not exactly as planned, but it attracts crowds most everywhere, especially at the starting and ending ceremonies. More municipalities decide to take it off public roads.

Many Tokyo 2020 official stores open or reopen in and outside Tokyo.

🔴 Although many people are not convinced, at this point, a super spreader seemed unlikely because:
・Everyone from overseas would have to be tested for Covid before and after arrival in Tokyo. Periodic or daily testing would also be required.
・No overseas spectators would be allowed into Japan. Most overseas volunteers would also be kept out.
・Any infections would likely be detected and isolated early.
・Most everyone in Japan would wear a mask.
・All the basic safety measures would be in place.
・Vaccinations would keep progressing.
・The Japanese government and TOCOG would do all they can to minimize the risk. They know the virus is out there, they know how it spreads, and they know how to reduce the risk of infection.

🔴 Ample evidence of widespread Japanese public support for Tokyo 2020:
・In July 2020, pro-Olympics Tokyo Governor Koike won reelection by a landslide against rivals opposing the Games. She captures 3,661,371 votes or 60 percent of the vote. Her closest rival, Utsunomiya Kenji (who later started an online petition to cancel the Games), won only 844,151 votes (13.8 percent of the vote).
・Only a small percentage of ticket holders in Japan have requested refunds.
・Torch relay still sees crowds most everywhere. Very few of the 10,000+ torch bearers have withdrawn (mostly celebrities who probably do not want to attract crowds).
・Among the 80,000 Games volunteers, only a minority have withdrawn. (Reported to be 1,000 so far, and later revealed to be 10,000, still a small minority.)
・Everyone in Japan is happy to see swimmer Ikee Rikako qualify for Tokyo.
・Even the most negative public opinion polls have shown only a minority (30–35 percent) who think the Games should be canceled. Another 30 percent or so thinks the Games should be postponed again. Public opinion polls keep providing the impossible “Postpone again” choice to respondents to inflate negative responses.

🔴 Another postponement is simply not possible for the following reasons given by TOCOG:

  1. There is no suitable year to postpone it to (2022 is Beijing, and 2023 is only one year before Paris).
  2. After qualifying for the year 2020, athletes cannot maintain their peak performance for that long.
  3. The Olympic Village in Harumi cannot be put on hold any longer. Additional construction and renovations need to proceed and condo owners want to move in.

MAY 2021

🍀Early May 2021: Games volunteers receive their volunteer shift schedule and start making reservations to pick up their uniform and accreditation card by late June. People who live in Japan far from pickup locations are disappointed that the uniform will not be shipped to them. Problem is later resolved when the pickup deadline is extended to August to enable volunteers to pickup their uniforms after arriving in Tokyo for the Games.

May 1, 2021: In Kagoshima Prefecture, six staff members who helped with the torch relay in April are found to be infected with the coronavirus.

FINA Diving World Cup 2021 at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in early May 2021
FINA Diving World Cup 2021 at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (TAC) in early May 2021. (Image from the online backyard tour.)

🔴 May 1st–6th, 2021: FINA Diving World Cup 2021 test event and Olympic qualifier is held successfully at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (TAC) without spectators. The first time a test event is held with foreign athletes (46 countries) since the pandemic started. Total 225 divers competed with China and Australia absent.

・Very strict protocols implemented for athletes and staff. They are PCR-tested within 72 hours before departure to Japan. Then tested again upon arrival at the airport in Tokyo and tested a third time 3 days after arrival. They are also tested regularly during the competition. This allows them to skip the two-week quarantine.
・Athletes and staff stay at a hotel near the Aquatics Centre. The hotel is a bubble for them as they are isolated from other hotel guests. They use a back entrance and occupy entire hotel floors (two). They have their own elevator stopping only on their floors. Everyone has their own room, no roommates. Take-out meals are brought to the floor’s elevator hall where each athlete would come and pick up their meal. They eat alone in their room. They are not allowed to go out of their hotel other than to the Aquatics Centre by dedicated bus.
・The number of hotel staff working on the athletes’ floors are minimized to only 13 and they are also PCR tested twice during the athletes’ stay at the hotel.
・The press is not allowed to enter the poolside. They are kept away from the athletes.
・One Japanese male diver developed a sore throat and withdrew. He had tested negative, and it turned out to be tonsillitis.
・To makeup for the diving test event being held without spectators, a backyard tour online is provided.

May 5, 2021: Test marathon in Sapporo goes well.

May 5, 2021: Japanese lawyer and two-time unsuccessful Tokyo gubernatorial candidate Utsunomiya Kenji starts an online petition at named “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives.” The petition quickly garners numerous signatures and much media attention. It eventually receives about 460,000 signatures from Japan and overseas, but nowhere near a majority of signatures from Tokyo residents (14 million). No petition nor protest against other sporting events (baseball, soccer, sumo) being held in Japan with spectators.

🔴 May 6, 2021: IOC announces that Pfizer will donate its COVID-19 vaccine for 20,000 Japanese athletes and Tokyo 2020 staff.

May 9, 2021: Athletics test event is held at the Olympic Stadium with no spectators.

May 10, 2021: IOC President Thomas Bach‘s planned visit to Japan in mid-May is postponed due to Tokyo’s coronavirus state of emergency extended until the end of May 2021 amid a fourth wave of infections. He had planned to participate in a torch relay event in Hiroshima on May 17. He eventually visits Hiroshima on July 16, 2021.

May 2021: Tokyo Marathon volunteers are asked to be volunteers for the Olympic cycling road race from Tokyo to Shizuoka.

Shizuoka Prefecture reports a shortage of torch relay volunteers for June 23–25. They need 1,600 volunteers, but got only 1,300.

In most torch relay municipalities, out-of-town torch relay volunteers are being declined to take part in volunteer activities. Torch relay volunteers are being limited to local residents.

Games Volunteer Uniform

🍀May 12, 2021: After making reservations, volunteers start to pickup their official uniforms and accreditation card(s). Uniform pickup locations are only in prefectures where there are Olympic or Paralympic venues: Tokyo, Shizuoka, Tohoku, and Sapporo. Nothing in western Japan, not even in Osaka.

In Tokyo, the uniform pickup site is UAC (Uniform Accreditation Center in the old Hotel Okura) near Kamiyacho Station. It has a fitting room to try on the actual uniform (shirts, pants, sneakers, etc) for size. Volunteers could change their uniform size if necessary.

Volunteers are required to pickup the uniform in person so their photo ID and face can be checked on site. (No shipping of uniforms.) Those who live far away from pickup locations complain about the travel distance and expense. Also, the state of emergency in some prefectures discourages traveling outside the prefecture. TOCOG later extends the uniform pickup period to August 5. This allows volunteers from afar to pickup the uniform when they arrive in Tokyo for the Games.

Volunteer uniform
Volunteer/staff uniform (sneakers pictured below) made by ASICS.
Volunteer/staff uniform sneakers "GEL-BREEZE" by ASICS
Volunteer/staff uniform sneakers “GEL-BREEZE” by ASICS. (Custom designed with Tokyo 2020 logo.)

🍀The volunteer/staff uniform is made by ASICS and all items are branded with “Tokyo 2020.” Volunteers received the following:

Polo shirts: 3
Jacket: 1
Long pants/shorts (gray): 2
Sneakers (custom designed for Tokyo 2020): 1 pair
Ankle socks (navy blue): 2 pairs
Wide-brimmed hat (navy blue): 1
Masks imprinted with “Tokyo 2020” (navy blue): 2
Waist bag (gray): 1
VISA prepaid card (¥1000): 1
Plastic water bottle 500ml (from Coca-Cola): 1
Field Cast Pocket Guide: 1
Field Cast Support Guide (Japanese): 1
Field Cast Support Guide (English): 1
Field Cast Handbook (optional, Japanese or English version): 1
Field Cast notebook: 1
Small tote bag (blue) containing the booklets above: 1
Large, black tote bag to carry everything above (60cm wide x 40cm high, black): 1

May 14, 2021: Olympics minister Marukawa Tamayo announces that 45 municipalities in Japan have canceled plans to host athletes for pre-Olympic training camps and cultural exchanges due to pandemic concerns.

She adds that 32 of the 45 municipalities said they were notified by their prospective athlete guests that they would cancel their training camp plans.

As of late April 2021, 528 municipalities in Japan were registered to welcome athletes from 184 countries and regions for pre-Olympic and Paralympic training camps.

May 2, 2021: Negativity continues to spread in the mass media and social media due to the lingering uncertainty and lack of information. TOCOG never does a good job at communicating pertinent and convincing information to the public and media. That the Games can be held safely. Many people only imagine the worst case scenario based on speculation and dark imagination.

By late May, false rumors about the imminent cancelation of Tokyo 2020 spreads on social media with the assumption that late May would be the last chance to cancel the Games.

May 14, 2021: In an interview with CNN, Rakuten Group CEO and chairman Mikitani Hiroshi says that holding the Tokyo Olympics during the pandemic would be a “suicide mission.” (Rakuten is not a Tokyo 2020 sponsor, and there were no COVID-19 deaths at Tokyo 2020. Rate of Covid-19 infection within Tokyo 2020 turned out to be extremely low.)

Later in June 2021, Tanaka Masahiro, pitcher for the Rakuten Eagles, is selected for the national baseball team which went on to win the gold medal at the big event his employer called a “suicide mission.”

May 18, 2021: An oppositionist column in the Los Angeles Times titled “Olympics must be canceled after Japanese flip from fans to protesters amid COVID strain” ends with the sentence: “As catastrophic as it will be to call off the Olympics, the alternative figures to be worse.” (The sports writer of this column, Dylan Hernández, later attends the “worse than catastrophic” Tokyo 2020 Olympics and has fun in Japan while safely reporting the Olympics.)

🍀May 18, 2021: At a routine press conference, Olympics Minister Marukawa finally makes an official comment about Covid testing for volunteers.

Media members and volunteers who will be near athletes within 1 meter for 15 min. or longer will be required to be Covid-tested (saliva) every day. The test can be done on the night before instead of the early morning. Daily testing will be required for volunteer interpreters and vehicle drivers for athletes.
Other volunteers who interact with athletes are to be tested every 4 or 7 days.

🍀Mid-May 2021: Venue-specific online training is held for Olympic Village (NCS) volunteers. MS Teams and Powerpoint presentation for about 1 hr. 45 min. (including a 10-min. break). During the last 10 min., Q&A is held via the chat feature.

May 20, 2021: During a videoconference with TMG, IOC President Thomas Bach states that he expects more than 80 percent of Olympic Village residents to be vaccinated. He also reiterates that Tokyo 2020 would not be canceled, citing other sporting events that proved that the sports events could be held safely with COVID countermeasures.

May 21, 2021: During an online press conference, IOC Vice President John Coates is asked if the Games would still proceed even if Tokyo was still under a Covid state of emergency. He cites the athletics and diving events held successfully in May 2021 and replies, “The answer is absolutely yes” which draws criticism on social media in Japan.

May 22, 2021: Expressing his opposition to the Tokyo Olympics, SoftBank founder and CEO Son Masayoshi tweets in Japanese opposing the Olympics including, “Currently more than 80% of people want the Olympics to be postponed or canceled. Who and on what authority is it being forced through?” (SoftBank is not a Tokyo 2020 sponsor, and the claim that 80% of people want the Olympics to be postponed or canceled is dubious.)

Later in June 2021, Yanagita Yuki, outfielder for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, is selected for the national baseball team which went on to win the gold medal at the event his employer described as being “forced through.”

May 22, 2021: Addressing a meeting of the International Hockey Federation, IOC President Thomas Bach states: “The athletes definitely can make their Olympic dreams come true. We have to make some sacrifices to make this possible.”

This was mistranslated into Japanese, implying that Japan would have to make Covid sacrifices even in human lives. The mistranslation/misunderstanding creates anger on social media in Japan.

May 24, 2021: Mass vaccinations (Moderna) finally starts in Japan for elderly people.

May 24, 2021: Although foreign tourists still cannot enter Japan, the US State Department issues the most serious “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory against US citizens traveling to Japan due to the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases. Two weeks later on June 8, it was lowered to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” It does not apply to US athletes traveling to Japan for Tokyo 2020.

May 26, 2021: TOCOG reveals the breakdown of Tokyo 2020 participants arriving from overseas. Before the postponement, the number was 177,700. This was reduced by more than half to 78,000 (59,000 Olympic participants and 19,000 Paralympic participants).

The people who were cut included 30,000 friends and family members of athletes and 61,700 family members of IOC members and guests of sponsors.

However, the number of IOC, IPC, NOC, and NPC staff and members remain unchanged with 3,000 Olympic Family (IOC) members, 2,000 Paralympic Family (IPC) members, 14,800 NOC members, and 5,900 NPC members. (Later in June 2021, TOCOG announces substantial reductions of IOC, IPC, NOC, and NPC staff and members.)

May 26, 2021: Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, an official sponsor of Tokyo 2020, publishes an editorial urging the Olympics to be canceled due to public health risks and strains on the medical system. (Such concerns turn out to be unwarranted.)

May 26, 2021: After bashing Tokyo 2020 all these months with scathing articles and editorials/opinions, the Washington Post flip-flops with articles supportive of the Tokyo Olympics:

May 27, 2021: Ueyama Naoto, chairman of the Japan Doctors Union, says the Tokyo Olympics could produce an “Olympic” coronavirus strain. (Never did.)

JUNE 2021

Aussie Spirit
Australia’s Olympic women’s softball team arrive in Japan on June 1.

🔴 June 1, 2021: The first Olympic athletes arrive in Tokyo. Australia’s Olympic women’s softball team (“Aussie Spirit”) start their quarantine before their 1.5-month pre-Games training camp in Ota, Gunma Prefecture.

They are to play 23 practice games with various teams, including Japan. The fact that the Olympics will actually happen finally hits home with their arrival.

The Australians and the city of Ota already know each other quite well since the Australian team has been based in Ota during previous tournaments in Japan in previous years. They like the facilities in Ota. It’s like “home away from home” for the Australians. Ota is where Subaru has its main automotive factories as well as the Subaru car museum and factory tour (SUBARU Visitor Center).

The Mayor of Ota, Shimizu Masayoshi, also stated, “Ota may be able to prove that host town activities can be done safely.” He also wants Aussie Spirit to medal, but no higher than Silver because he wants Japan to get the Gold (which they did).

As of late May 2021, Japan has 528 host towns for national teams from overseas to train and meet local residents. However, due to pandemic difficulties or fears, 105 host towns (or national teams) have given up their host town training camp plans.

June 1, 2021: With Covid vaccine donated by Pfizer, the inoculation of 20,000 Japanese Olympic athletes, coaches, and staff begins.

🍀June 2, 2021: TOCOG announces that about 10,000 of 80,000 Games volunteers have dropped out. This includes the 1,800 overseas volunteers forced to withdraw and the 1,000 who quit soon after TOCOG President Mori’s sexist remarks in February 2021. Volunteers who withdraw still have the option to rejoin.

TOCOG does not keep statistics on the reasons for the volunteers withdrawing, but the postponed dates and Covid fears are likely to be the main reasons.

TOCOG says it will not affect operations, and there are no plans to recruit more volunteers.

🍀Meanwhile, the withdrawal rate among City Cast volunteers is much higher, at least 20 percent to 35 percent. City Cast volunteers mostly started quitting after overseas spectators were not allowed to enter Japan. City Cast were recruited by prefectures having a Tokyo 2020 venue.

Chiba Prefecture, with Narita Airport, recently reported that 30 percent of their 2,826 City Cast volunteers have withdrawn. Before Covid, Chiba aimed to select 3,000 out of 6,500 who applied.

In Miyagi Prefecture, almost half of their 1,700 City Cast volunteers have quit. They now have 910.

In Yamanashi Prefecture where the cycling road race will be held, 85 of their 163 City Cast volunteers have withdrawn. However, their original target for volunteers was only 100, but 163 applied.

June 2, 2021: TMG cancels the Yoyogi Park live site for public viewing of the Games.

June 3, 2021: TOCOG unveils the victory ceremony podium, the fan-shaped trays to carry the medals to medalists, and the costumes to be worn by medal tray bearers at the Olympics and Paralympics victory ceremonies. The podium is made of recycled plastics and fabricated with a 3D printer.

victory podium
Tokyo 2020 victory ceremony podium features the ichimatsu moyo checkered pattern in 3D on the sides. Total of 98 podiums were made. Designed by Asao Tokolo who also designed the Tokyo 2020 emblems.
Hydrangea and mini Tokyo 2020 mascots during rainy season
Hydrangea and mini mascots during rainy season in June 2021.

🔴 June 4th–6th, 2021: National public opinion poll taken by Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper indicates 50% in favor of holding the Games and 48% who want it canceled.

Of the 50% in favor, 24% want to limit the number of spectators and 26% want no spectators. In May, Yomiuri found 59% wanted the Games to be canceled. Now it’s 11% less.

🍀June 8, 2021: Following a TOCOG board meeting, TOCOG CEO Muto Toshiro announces that they want all 70,000 Games volunteers and Japanese media members to be vaccinated.

He says it was definitely feasible, and they are negotiating to procure more Pfizer vaccines. Also working on the logistics to get enough medical personnel and vaccination centers without affecting ongoing vaccinations for the general population. They may use existing or corporate facilities to vaccinate volunteers and media members.

June 8, 2021: TOCOG President Hashimoto states that media members from overseas will be required to undergo a two-week quarantine after arrival and movements to be recorded with GPS in case there is any infections or problems.

June 8, 2021: Thomas Bach announces the IOC Refugee Olympic Team’s 29 athletes from 11 countries representing 12 sports who will be competing at Tokyo 2020.

June 9, 2021: TOCOG President Hashimoto states that domestic media members will also be required to be vaccinated. Like the Japanese athletes, they will be provided with the Pfizer vaccine for free.

June 11, 2021: International Weightlifting Federation announces that New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (43) qualified to compete at Tokyo 2020 (women’s +87 kg division) as the first transgender woman athlete (formerly competing in male events) at the Olympics.

June 13, 2021: The Group of Seven nations at the G7 summit in Cornwall declare their support for the Tokyo Olympics.

JAL Boeing 777-200 in Tokyo 2020 livery approaches Haneda Airport as it passes over Sea Forest Waterway.
JAL Boeing 777-200 in Tokyo 2020 livery (mascots) approaches Haneda Airport as it passes over Sea Forest Waterway.
Sweet gesture from the crew of ANA flying a Games staffer from Sydney to Tokyo
June 14, 2021: Sweet gesture from the crew of ANA flying a Games staffer from Sydney to Tokyo. (Photo by Maartje Theunissen)

June 15, 2021: Pfizer provides COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for another 20,000 Tokyo 2020 participants. Totaling 40,000 so far.

June 15–22, 2021: Third and final version of playbooks (PDF files) are issued.

🍀June 15, 2021: More Games volunteers go on record to express their anxiety and serious doubts about the Games, drowning out optimistic volunteers who are actually in the majority and proved to be right about Tokyo 2020 not becoming a COVID-19 super spreader:

June 17, 2021: The Japanese government ends Tokyo’s state of emergency.

June 17, 2021: With Covid vaccine donated by Pfizer, the inoculation of 600 Japanese Paralympic athletes, coaches, and staff begins.

🍀June 18–August 21, 2021: Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s 45th-floor North observation deck in Shinjuku opens as a vaccination center for Tokyo 2020 employees, volunteers, and contractors to receive their first and second Pfizer doses. From June 1, 2021, a total of 40,000 people connected to Tokyo 2020 are vaccinated at TMG.

So far, about 9,000 volunteers to be working near athletes are selected for priority vaccination such as:
・Athlete village staff
・NOC/NPC assistants
・Competition staff
・Airport staff
・Doping staff

TOCOG CEO Muto Toshiro states that they are having difficulty procuring vaccines for all 70,000 volunteers. No vaccines yet for 50,000 remaining volunteers. (TMG later secures Moderna vaccines for the remaining volunteers.)

Tokyo Metropolitan Government's 45th-floor North observation deck becomes a mass vaccination center
Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s 45th-floor North observation deck becomes a mass vaccination center for priority Tokyo 2020 staff and volunteers. This is the 15-min. waiting/observation area after getting vaccinated.

June 18, 2021: TOCOG announces substantial reductions of IOC, IPC, NOC, and NPC staff/members coming to Japan. The 3,000 Olympic Family (IOC) members have been reduced to 1,200, the 2,000 Paralympic Family (IPC) members to 400, and media members from overseas have also been reduced. The total number of Olympic people will then be 41,000, and Paralympic people 12,000. The total of 53,000 is much less than the reduced number of 78,000 announced in May 2021 and less than one-third the original number of 177,000.

Japan’s COCOA contact tracing app notification.

June 19, 2021: Uganda becomes the second national team to arrive for the Tokyo Olympics. However, at Narita Airport, one of the coaches tests positive for Covid-19 and is put in isolation. After the remaining eight Ugandans went on to Izumisano, Osaka for their training camp, another member tests positive.

June 20, 2021: Tokyo’s third state of emergency, in effect since May 7, is lifted in time for the Games.

June 21, 2021: The five organizers announce that up to 10,000 spectators will be allowed at each venue or only 50 percent of venue capacity, whichever is less. Also, only 20,000 at the Opening Ceremony. Subject to change depending on any state of emergency. (All spectators are eventually banned.)

June 21, 2021: India’s National Olympic Committee complains to TOCOG about the three-day quarantine period to be imposed on their athletes (and those from ten other countries) after arrival in Japan.

June 22–30, 2021: Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko is hospitalized for severe fatigue. She apologizes for not being at work during such a critical time soon before the Olympics.

June 23, 2021: TOCOG President Hashimoto announces guidelines for spectator activities. They include a ban on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages at venues, no shouting, no high fives, etc.

June 23, 2021: TOCOG announces that about 25 percent of Tokyo 2020 ticket holders in Japan will lose their tickets in order to reduce the number of spectators from 3.6 million to 2.72 million. About 910,000 ticket holders will be disallowed from watching the Games in person.

The unlucky people will be selected in a lottery on July 6. The affected sports include athletics, baseball, football, golf, modern pentathlon, rugby sevens, softball, and surfing. The plan is subject to change (further reduction) depending on the Covid situation and state of emergency in Tokyo. (All spectators are eventually banned and this lottery is never held.)

TV news speculate over the 20,000 limit on spectators for the Opening Ceremony.
TV news media speculate over the 20,000 limit on spectators for the Opening Ceremony. Maybe allow 7,300 Olympic family people, 15,000 sponsor staff, and 9,300 spectators from the public. (All spectators are eventually banned.)
Final version of the Workforce Playboo

🍀June 23, 2021: Final version of the Workforce Playbook (for volunteers) is released.

June 24, 2021: Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Nishimura Yasuhiko states that Emperor Naruhito was very concerned about the coronavirus situation and hoped the organizers can work together to prevent the spread of infections and that the Games would not increase the spread of COVID-19 infections.

🍀June 26, 2021: In a major breakthrough, vaccines for all 70,000 Games volunteers have been procured. Moderna vaccine is to be provided to Japan-based volunteers who have not received a Pfizer vaccination notification earlier this month.

June 28, 2021: The White House states that US President Joe Biden will not be attending Tokyo 2020, while his wife Jill is thinking about attending to represent the US government. (She ultimately attends Tokyo 2020.)

🍀 June 30–July 3, 2021: Games volunteers are vaccinated with Moderna at Tsukiji for the first dose. Second dose at Yoyogi Park during July 31 to August 2, 10, 11. Even volunteers overseas who cannot enter Japan receive a notification to get vaccinated in Tsukiji.

Email notifications for unvaccinated volunteers (about 50,000) are sent out. However, only 8,300 opt to get vaccinated. A little late for the Olympics, but in time for the Paralympics.

Late June 2021: Event companies and temp agencies like Pasona continue to recruit paid staff (Japan residents only) for the Games until the end of June. Many job descriptions are similar to volunteer roles and includes managerial jobs.

Olympic Village (OLV)

Harumi Passenger Terminal
Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal in the Olympic Village serves as the NOC/NPC Services Centre on the 1st to 4th floors. Meeting rooms and rest area for Olympic Village (OLV) volunteers. Rooftop is a lookout deck. The people walking are NOC volunteers going to tour the OLV. (NOC/NPC: National Olympic/Paralympic Committee)

JULY 2021

Official mascots Miraitowa and Someity displayed at TMG
Official mascots Miraitowa and Someity sculptures displayed at TMG in Shinjuku.

July 8, 2021: IOC President Thomas Bach arrives in Tokyo on a commercial flight on Lufthansa instead of a private jet like he did on his last visit. At the airport, he takes the secret VIP exit and does not appear in the Arrivals lobby where numerous press was waiting.

Like a head of state, Bach’s car from Haneda Airport to his hotel is surrounded by police motorcycles and Japanese Secret Service vehicles. When arriving at his hotel (The Okura Tokyo), he opens the car window to wave to the press. The hotel is guarded by numerous police. Bach isolates in his hotel for the first three days.

🔴 🍀July 8, 2021: After delaying the decision multiple times, the five organizers finally decide to ban even domestic Olympics spectators in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures following the Japanese government’s decision to declare another state of emergency. A very sad decision, but better than an outright cancellation.

It is a heavy blow to TOCOG, which would lose the ticket revenue of ¥90 billion ($820 million). It had sold 4.48 million Olympics tickets.

The decision also affects Games volunteers assigned to Event Services (EVS), the department (FA) in charge of guiding and managing spectators.

July 9, 2021: It is announced that spectators would also not be allowed in Hokkaido’s Olympic events.

July 10, 2021: It is announced that spectators would also not be allowed in Fukushima’s Olympic events.

🍀July 11, 2021: Despite no spectators, TOCOG announces that all remaining 70,000 volunteers will still be retained. No one will be let go. They plan to reassign the extra volunteers to different roles or venues if necessary.

🍀TOCOG CEO Muto Toshiro also states that they want as many volunteers as possible to be involved in the Games, even for a day. This seems to imply that volunteers can work fewer than the minimum number of 10 days that was originally required.

🍀The mayor of Chiba city, where Makuhari Messe (wrestling, fencing, taekwondo) is located, has stated that the city’s City Cast volunteers will be inactivated for the Olympics since there will be no spectators. Chiba city originally had 1,600 City Cast which shrank to 780 due to the postponement and Covid fears. They were to be assigned to train stations and information desks to guide spectators.

🍀Mid-July 2021: It is reported that Tokyo 2020 volunteer uniforms were being sold on auction and flea market sites in Japan for as much as ¥10,000 or more. Apparently, a few volunteers are trying to sell their uniforms in violation of the rules. It also poses a security risk to have unauthorized persons wearing the uniform to the Games. Reseller websites have been informed of this violation. Any volunteers found to be selling a uniform is to be booted out.

July 12, 2021: Tokyo’s fourth state of emergency starts and covers the Olympics period. Ends on August 22, 2021.

July 13, 2021: The Olympic Village in Harumi opens to athletes and coaches without any opening ceremony. As widely reported, athletes also receive free condoms to be used after they go back to their home countries.

July 15, 2021: Thomas Bach meets with Tokyo Governor Koike and states that there will be zero risk to people in Japan.

July 15, 2021: Thirty-six equestrian horses arrive Narita Airport. Total of 330 equestrian horses for the Olympics and Paralympics are to arrive by mid-August 2021.

Woman surfer and soon-to-be gold medalist Carissa Moore, full of the Aloha Spirit, gives a thank you speech
Host town success story: Hawaiʻi-born woman surfer and soon-to-be gold medalist Carissa Moore, full of the Aloha Spirit, gives a thank you speech in Japanese at their Pre-Olympic training camp in Makinohara, Shizuoka. Video:

July 16–20, 2021: Amid many host towns in Japan canceling their host town plans due to COVID-19, the city of Makinohara in Shizuoka Prefecture stood firm and remained determined to host the USA surfing team as planned. The city had invited the team back in 2016 and even built a surfing wave pool for their training camp.

The US surfing team arrives Haneda Airport on July 16 and immediately travels to Makinohara for their training camp. They ride local waves at Shizunami Beach as well as on artificial waves at the new Shizunami Surf Stadium. They are also entertained by local firemen acrobatics atop high ladders.

Before the team leaves for Chiba on July 20, Carissa Moore (from Honolulu, Hawaii) gives a thank you speech in Japanese. (She studied Japanese in junior high school.)

Later when Carissa wins the Olympic gold medal at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba on July 27, the cheering people in Makinohara are ecstatic and extremely happy and proud to have been the team’s host town. Duke Kahanamoku, who wished surfing to be an Olympic sport, most likely also smiled from Heaven. Video:

July 16, 2021: One of the Ugandan athletes training in Izumisano, Osaka runs away from his hotel after leaving a note that he wants to work in Japan. He is later found in Mie Prefecture on July 20 and requests refugee status. However, he returns to Uganda on July 21.

July 16, 2021: TMG cancels plans to invite school children from the recovering Tohoku Region and Kumamoto Prefecture to spectate at the Olympics in Tokyo.

July 17, 2021: As ordered by the IOC, Team South Korea remove their controversial banners outside their Olympic Village accommodations. They state that the IOC promised that Japan’s rising sun flag would be disallowed at venues.

July 17–18, 2021: American distance runner Paul Chelimo claims on Twitter on July 17 that the cardboard beds in the Olympic Village were anti-sex beds “preventing intimacy among athletes.”

On the next day, Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan posts on Twitter to quash the rumor that the cardboard beds are anti-sex by filming himself jumping on the bed. The bed does not break. He says the beds being “anti-sex was fake news.”

Recyclable cardboard bed for Tokyo 2020 athletes at the Olympic/Paralympic Village is sturdier than it looks.

July 18, 2021: For the first time, athletes (two) from overseas staying at the Olympic Village test positive for COVID-19. Later, two South African male football players also test positive. (No clusters at the Olympic Village.)

July 19, 2021: The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee announces that it has reserved a hotel near the Olympic Village to prepare their own food for their athletes. They will screen all food for radiation. Korea had expressed concerns about their athletes being served food from Fukushima at the Olympic Village even though the Japanese government assured that it was safe.

Local media in South Korea were also critical of the flowers from Fukushima being used in the victory bouquet given to medalists.

July 19, 2021: Due to the spread of COVID-19, Games sponsor Toyota decides not to air Tokyo 2020-related TV commercials in Japan.

Games Volunteers Mobilized

Tokyo 2020 volunteers at a venue training session.
A few days or weeks before the Games: Most Games volunteers start their assignments with venue-specific training. At Tatsumi Water Polo Centre, Press Operations (PRS) volunteers attend a training session (orientation) in the Venue Media Centre (VMC) aka Press Conference Room.

July 20, 2021: Imperial Household Agency announces that Emperor Naruhito would attend the Opening Ceremony on July 23 without Empress Masako. Also, all plans for Imperial Family members to attend Tokyo 2020 competitions are canceled.

July 21, 2021: Without any rival bids, Brisbane, Australia is selected to be the host city for the 2032 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: July 23–August 8, 2021

July 21, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympic competition starts with women’s softball and football.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony

🔴 July 23, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony is held at the Olympic Stadium with 6,000 athletes and no spectators. The NHK television audience for the live broadcast of the Olympics Opening Ceremony averaged 56.4 percent of viewers in the Tokyo area.

🔴 July 23–August 9, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympics is held with 11,259 athletes from 206 NOCs (including a refugee team). They compete in a record number of 33 sports and 339 events held at 42 venues. Includes five new Olympic sports: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing, and sports climbing. A major theme is urban sports such as skateboarding and BMX freestyle geared for the younger generation.

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, new world records are set in 20 events in six sports.

Excluding athletes, the number of Tokyo Olympics participants from overseas is reduced to one-third the original number, from 141,000 to 33,000 people.

As Japan wins a record number of Olympic medals, the Japanese public comes around and heavily favors the holding of the Olympics.

🍀Total 51,672 Field Cast volunteers work during the Olympics. (Also, 24,514 Games volunteers work during the Paralympics.) Volunteers originally assigned to Event Services (EVS) to take care of spectators have problems finding alternate roles. Some, especially those who are bilingual, are reassigned to other roles. Others have hardly any days to be a volunteer.

Japan’s summer heat and humidity prompts schedule changes in tennis, the women’s soccer final, and the women’s marathon.

The IOC allows medalists to remove their masks for 30 seconds to pose for photos while on the podium. They are signaled with “Mask Off/On” signs held by Press Operations staff/volunteers.

🍀Athletes and staff/volunteers working near athletes are tested daily for Covid. Other volunteers and staff are tested at least every four or seven days for Covid with saliva samples.

July 24, 2021: TBS TV reports that due to no spectators, fewer volunteers were assigned to the Opening Ceremony, resulting in over 4,000 extra bento meals (40 percent) for volunteers discarded as food waste.

🍀About 130,000 meals (bento boxes) for Olympic volunteers and staff are thrown away during the month up to August 3. This is about 25 percent of all food prepared for 20 venues. The food waste continues through the Paralympics although the waste is reduced.

One common complaint among volunteers and staff was that the food was not so delicious (too salty) and the menu not diverse.

July 26, 2021: Team Israel’s baseball pitcher Ben Wanger posts a viral TikTok video showing how many athletes are needed to destroy the cardboard bed in the Olympic Village. His experiment concludes that nine Israeli Olympians jumping on the bed together can break the cardboard bed. Since the bed can support up to 200 kg, the nine athletes supposedly weigh more than 200 kg total.

Wanger soon deletes the video (still online at kann_news) and he and all the athletes involved apologize. At the end of the Games, Village volunteers/staff find more cardboard beds purposely damaged by athletes from other countries.

July 27, 2021: At Ariake Gymnastics Centre, US gymnast Simone Biles withdraws from the gymnastics final, citing the immense mental pressure. She is widely hailed for her courage and decision.

July 31, 2021: TOCOG announces that two judoka from Georgia, silver medalists Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili, have been ejected from the Olympics for going sightseeing. The Georgians were seen in their Georgian uniforms near Tokyo Tower on the evening of July 27. COVID-19 rules state that athletes can only travel from their accommodations to competition venues or other permitted destinations. They are not allowed to take public transportation and walk around in the city, go shopping, etc.

Photos: Tokyo 2020 Look of the Games

Olympic Village (Harumi)

The Olympic Village in Harumi is a large complex of 23 buildings having over 5,600 condominium units that will house about 12,000 residents after the Olympics. Multiple real estate agencies are handling the development and sale of the condos. After the Olympics, it will take three years to build additional towers, renovate the units, and enable people to move in (originally in March 2023). The athletes’ dining hall will become a new elementary school. The Olympic Village will be known as “Harumi Flag.”

Colorful national decorations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village.
Colorful national decorations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village.
L-R: USA, Australia, Italy, Finland and Sweden, and Thank you banner.
Olympic Village rings
Popular photo spot in the Olympic Village for selfies. Harumi Futo Park.

Tokyo 2020 Competition Venues (Alphabetical Order)

Look of the Games at Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic venues came in one of the five traditional Japanese colors (not Olympic colors) of Kurenai red, Ai indigo blue, Sakura cherry blossom pink, Fuji wisteria purple, and Matsuba pine green. All beautiful. Each venue has a three-letter abbreviation used mainly among Games’ staff.
*Not all venues are shown here. If you want to contribute photos of missing venues, contact us.
*Special thanks to Games volunteer and staff friends who contributed photos.

Ariake Arena (ARA) – Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball

Ariake Arena
Ariake Arena (ARA) in the evening. Lower left is the Venue Media Centre (temporary building).

Ariake Gymnastics Centre (AGC) – Gymnastics, Boccia

Ariake Gymnastics Centre
Ariake Gymnastics Centre (AGC), beautiful but temporary venue.

Ariake Tennis Park (ART) – Tennis, Para Tennis

Ariake Urban Sports Park (ASP) – Skateboarding, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle

Ariake Urban Sports Park (ASP): Skateboarding
Ariake Urban Sports Park (ASP): Skateboarding appears in the Olympics for the first time at Tokyo 2020. Skateboarding venue had two halves, front half for Park and rear half for Street.

Aomi Urban Sports Park (AUP) – Sport Climbing, 3×3 Basketball, Football 5-a-side

aomi Venue
Aomi Urban Sports Park was another busy venue with multiple sports and configurations. That’s the sports climbing wall on the right. It occupied a large parking lot facing the Venus Fort shopping mall. Temporary venue.

Asaka Shooting Range (ASR) – Olympic and Paralympic Shooting

Paralympic Shooting

Equestrian Park (EQP) – Dressage, Eventing, and Show Jumping; Paralympic Equestrian

Fuji Internatonal Speedway (FSW) – Olympic and Paralympic Cycling Road Race

Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (IKS) – Football

International Stadium Yokohama (ISY) – Football

Izu Velodrome (IVD) – Olympic and Paralympic Track Cycling

Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre (KSC) – Canoe (Slalom)

Sorry no photos yet. If you want contribute a few Olympic photos for this venue, contact us.

Kasumigaseki Country Club (KCC) – Golf

Sorry no photos yet. If you want contribute a few Olympic photos for this venue, contact us.

Kokugikan Arena (KKG) – Boxing

Makuhari Messe Hall A (MMA) – Wrestling, Taekwondo, Sitting Volleyball

Makuhari Messe Hall B (MMB) – Fencing, Paralympic Taekwondo, Wheelchair Fencing

Nippon Budokan (NBK) – Judo, Karate

Odaiba Maine Park (OMP) – Olympic and Paralympic Triathlon, Marathon Swimming

Odaiba Marine Park during the Paralympics. Agitos monument
Odaiba Marine Park (OMP) during the Paralympics. Agitos monument on the left, and triathlon and marathon swimming venue on the right. Rainbow Bridge in the background.

Oi Hockey Stadium (OHS) – Field Hockey

Olympic Stadium (OLS) – Athletics, Football

Saitama Stadium (SAS) – Football

Saitama Super Arena (SSA) – Basketball

Sea Forest Cross-Country Course (SFC) – Equestrian (Eventing [Cross-Country])

Sea Forest Waterway (SFW) – Rowing, Canoe (Sprint), and Paralympic Rowing, Canoe

Sea Forest Waterway from the finish line end
Sea Forest Waterway from the finish line end. Motor boats line this end. Spectator seating on the right. The start line is beyond the arch bridge in the distance. The course is 2,335 meters long.

Shiokaze Park (SHP) – Beach Volleyball

Sorry no photos yet. If you want contribute a few Olympic photos for this venue, contact us.

Tatsumi Water Polo Centre (TWC) – Water Polo

TWC) during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Tatsumi Water Polo Centre (TWC) during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo Aquatics Centre (TAC) – Swimming, Artistic Swimming, Diving, Paralympic Swimming

Tokyo Aquatics Centre (TAC) is a new venue built for Tokyo 2020. Its roof was constructed first, then it was lifted up.

Tokyo International Forum (TIF) – Weightlifting, Paralympic Powerlifting

Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (TGY) – Olympic and Paralympic Table Tennis

Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium had four tables for table tennis preliminaries during the Olympics. Very red venue.

Tokyo Stadium (TOS) – Football, Modern Pentathlon

Tokyo Stadium
Tokyo Stadium (TOS) had a temporary swimming pool (left), equestrian obstacle course, and shooting range on the field for Modern Pentathlon. Olympic capacity was 48,000.

Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach (TSB) – Surfing

Yoyogi National Stadium (YNS) – Handball, Paralympic Badminton, Wheelchair Rugby

Yoyogi National Stadium

Yumenoshima Park Archery Field (YAF) – Olympic and Paralympic Archery

Yumenoshima Park Archery Field Someity
Yumenoshima is one of Tokyo’s many artificial islands built with landfill. “Yumenoshima” can mean, “Island of Dreams Come True.” There were two archery fields: Ranking/Training Field (permanent venue) and the beauitful Final Field (temporary venue) both in Wisteria Purple. Most of the competition was held on the Final Field. Photo shows the Final Field with staff and volunteers posing with Paralympic mascot Someity.

Aug. 27, 2021: Paralympic archers compete in the Ranking Round at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field’s Ranking Field (permanent venue). This field was originally a bowl-shaped grassy lawn.

Flower Lane Project

Signs of Support

Tokyo Big Sight International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Media Press Centre (MPC)

Tokyo Big Sight housing the IBC and MOC.
At the center of Tokyo Big Sight is the distinctive Conference Tower with meeting rooms and the Main Press Conference Room. The PSA (Pedestrian Screening Area) was toward the right of the tower.

Normally used for large trade shows, Tokyo Big Sight was Tokyo 2020’s media headquarters for TV broadcasters, accredited journalists, and press photographers. It housed the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Media Press Centre (MPC).

The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) was in the East Halls, and Media Press Centre (MPC) in the West Halls. The International Broadcast Centre had TV studios and interview spaces mainly occupied by OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) which filmed all the events.

Media Press Centre had large workrooms for journalists and photographers (capacity 700) and private offices for media companies. The MPC was managed by Press Operations (PRS) which also had an office on site. Since the number of media members was significantly cut back, Tokyo Big Sight was not as busy as originally expected.

Tokyo Big Sight was not open to the public. Open only to accredited media members, athletes requested for interviews or press conferences, and supporting staff/volunteers. When Tokyo 2020 was postponed, getting Tokyo Big Sight for 2021 was a major sticking point since it had already booked 100 trade shows from Oct. 2020 to autumn 2021.

Venue Media Centre (VMC)

City Dressing

Train/Subway Station Look


August 2, 2021: Yoyogi National Stadium is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The distinctive building was designed by Tange Kenzo for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as the swimming venue. The building looks like it’s in motion, twirling like a rhythmic gymnast or ballerina. Famous for the suspension roof using the same principle as suspension bridges.

The entrance plaza originally had all cobblestones, but to improve accessbility, there’s now a smooth stone path through the cobblestones for wheelchairs. In 2017-2018, the building was retrofitted for earthquake resistance. The building is also Japan’s first to use hydraulic dampers to reduce the roof/ceiling shaking from earthquakes and typhoons.

August 5, 2021: Japan and Tokyo see record numbers of COVID-19 cases, reaching as high as 5,042 cases this day. With the Olympics having no spectators, TOCOG denies the Games as the cause of the surge.

🍀August 5, 2021: Field Cast Office sends an email to volunteers saying that volunteers are not allowed to spectate when off duty. (This policy changes for the Paralympics where volunteers were allowed to spectate in the venue’s designated area.)

Japan reaps a record 58 Olympic medals, including 27 gold medals, its most ever. Followed by 14 silver and 17 bronze medals. Japan’s medal count is Tokyo 2020’s third highest, only behind the US and China.

USA women's water polo team win their third straight Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021. Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
Aug. 7, 2021: USA women’s water polo team win their third straight Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020, Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.

🔴 August 8, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympics Closing Ceremony is held at the Olympic Stadium with 4,500 athletes and no spectators. To cut costs and simplify the ceremony, the number of performers is cut to one-fourth the original number, from 800 to 200. The NHK television audience for the live broadcast of the Closing Ceremony peaks at 46.7 percent of viewers in Tokyo.

🍀Japanese media publishes many articles praising Olympic athletes and volunteers. The pre-Games negativity in the mass media disappears as if it were nothing. No apologies, no congratulations, and no compliments from the prominent Japanese CEOs, doctors, politicians, etc., who spread negativity and panic before the Games.

Team Japan at the Olympic Village attend an Orientation before boarding buses to the Olympic Closing Ceremony in Aug. 9, 2021.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Health Threat Evaluation
・During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 174 foreigner participants and 373 Japan-based participants tested positive for COVID-19. Only two were hospitalized and soon discharged. No serious cases and no deaths. The Covid positive rate among Games participants from July 1, 2021 to the end of the Olympics is an extremely low 0.02 percent.

・During the Olympics (July 21–Aug 8), heat illness befell on 59 athletes (8 taken by ambulance, no hospitalizations) and 91 staff (2 taken by ambulance).

・With spectators banned in the Tokyo area, Tokyo 2020 Olympics saw a total of only 43,000 spectators at venues allowing spectators in Miyagi, Ibaraki, and Shizuoka Prefectures.

・Tokyo 2020 Olympics thereby ends without major problems. No typhoons nor earthquakes either.

August 9, 2021: IOC President Thomas Bach, with a security detail, is spotted taking a stroll in Tokyo’s Ginza district despite coronavirus restrictions imposed on athletes and officials.

Luggage going home with athletes at the Olympic Village.
Luggage and athletes leaving the Olympic Village.

August 10, 2021: TMG announces that the Tokyo Paralympic torch relay is to be taken off Tokyo’s public roads during August 20–24. The planned 700 torch bearers will instead gather at a celebration venue and pass on the flame in a “torch kiss” event.

August 11, 2021: Olympic Village in Harumi closes.

August 11, 2021: After serving as one of the most photographed edifices and background scenes of Tokyo 2020, the giant Olympic rings (15 meters high) on a floating barge at Odaiba Marine Park are towed away to Yokohama to be scrapped for recycling.

August 12–24, 2021: The Tokyo Paralympic torch relay is held with a total of 1,070 torch bearers. Lighting ceremony is held in all 47 prefectures, and a torch relay or lighting ceremony is held in the four prefectures (Shizuoka, Chiba, Saitama, Tokyo) having Paralympic venues.

🔴 August 16, 2021: Public opinion poll by Kyodo News shows that 62.9 percent of respondents thought it was good to hold the Olympics and 30.8 percent thought it was not good.

🔴 August 16, 2021: After a meeting between the five organizers, they sadly announce that the Tokyo Paralympics would be held without spectators due to the spike in Covid infections in Japan. No one is surprised by the announcement.

The only exception would be students who would be allowed to spectate at Paralympic venues as part of a government-backed educational program. Tokyo Governor Koike acknowledged the educational value for school kids to watch Paralympic athletes. It still makes many schools and parents anxious over the program, especially when two teachers who took students to see goalball on August 25 later tested positive for Covid.

In the end, only 15,300 students visited Paralympic venues as spectators, a lot less than originally planned.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: August 24–September 5, 2021

August 17, 2021: Paralympic Village in Harumi opens.

August 20, 2021: The giant Paralympic Agitos logo (17.5 meters high) on a floating barge is installed at Odaiba Marine Park. Lit up in white in the evenings.

🔴 August 24, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Opening Ceremony is held with 3,400 athletes and no spectators at the Olympic Stadium. Average viewership in the Kanto region is 23.8 percent of all households.

🔴 August 24–September 5, 2021: The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is held with a record 4,403 athletes from 163 NOCs (including a refugee team) competing in 539 events across 22 sports. Japan’s Paralympic team is the biggest ever with over 250 athletes.

During the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, new world records are set in 153 events in six Paralympic sports.

Excluding athletes, the number of Tokyo Paralympic participants from overseas is reduced to one-third the original number, from 36,000 to 10,000 people.

🍀 Athletes and staff/volunteers working near athletes are tested daily for Covid. Other volunteers and staff are tested at least every four days for Covid with saliva samples.

🍀Total 24,514 Games volunteers work during the Paralympics, including 5,216 volunteers who also worked at the Olympics. Some volunteers assigned to Event Services (EVS) to take care of spectators are reassigned to other roles.

Hot weather persists during the first half of the Paralympics in central Tokyo, followed by cool, rainy days. No typhoons.

During the Paralympics (August 25–September 5), heat illness befell on 34 Para athletes (3 taken by ambulance, no hospitalizations) and 18 staff (1 taken by ambulance).

With normal spectators banned, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics saw a total of only 15,700 spectators who were all students participating in a government-backed education program in Tokyo, Saitama, and Chiba Prefectures.

August 25, 2021: In Chiba city, six Kaizuka Junior High School teachers take 55 students to see goalball at Makuhari Messe. Two of the teachers later test positive for Covid. Their students are not infected. The news spooks other schools and parents who cancel their school trips to see the Paralympics. Although Chiba city planned to continue the Paralympic spectator program for elementary school children, Chiba Prefecture later withdrew its high school students from the program on August 30.

August 26, 2021: At the Paralympic Village, an e-Palette self-driving vehicle transporting athletes within the village hit a visually-impaired Japanese judoka, Kitazono Aramitsu, who suffered injuries forcing him to withdraw from competition. The collision occurred when the vehicle was already braking to stop for the judoka, but hit him before coming to a complete stop. The e-Palette vehicle operation is suspended until August 31 when an accident investigation is completed and safety measures are reinforced.

August 29, 2021: IOC announces that former IOC President Jacques Rogge passed away at age 79. On September 7, 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, it was Rogge who held up the iconic sign announcing “Tokyo” winning the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in a final vote against Istanbul.


September 3, 2021: Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announces his intention to resign and not seek reelection, saying he would rather focus on resolving Covid-19. His term ends on September 30, 2021 as he was serving predecessor Abe Shinzo’s remaining term. Suga’s public approval ratings sink to a record low of 30.4 percent in August.

🔴 September 5, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Paralympics officially ends with the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium with 2,000 athletes and no spectators.

Japan fielded 254 Para athletes and won a total of 51 Paralympic medals with 13 gold, 15 silver, and 23 bronze, for 11th place in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medal standings.

Typical scene of City Cast volunteers waving goodbye to athletes or staff.
Typical scene of City Cast volunteers waving goodbye to athletes or staff (Asaka Shooting Range).

🔴 September 5, 2021: Public opinion poll by Kyodo News shows that 69.8 percent of respondents thought it was good to hold the Paralympics and 26.3 percent thought it was not good.

Tokyo 2020 Games (Field Cast) Volunteers Statistics

Visit Japan again.
Olympic Village volunteer with a universal message.

🍀 Total Tokyo 2020 Games (Field Cast) volunteer applicants: 204,680 people in Japan and overseas. About 73,684 of the applicants are foreign nationals, and about 130,996 are Japanese.

Number of Games volunteer applicants selected: About 80,421.

Number of foreign national Games volunteers selected: About 9,651

Number of overseas Games volunteers: 2,300 (later reduced to 500)

Number of Games volunteers activated: 70,970 (51,672 Olympic volunteers and 24,514 Paralympic volunteers, including 5,216 volunteers who worked at both.)

Number of Games volunteers who quit: About 10,000 mostly due to Covid fears.

Age range: Biggest was 20s with 17,354 volunteers, followed by 50s with 16,815, and 40s 11,972. Age 18-19 were 2,112. Three volunteers were in their 90s, and 139 in their 80s.

Gender: 29,677 males, 41,289 females, and 4 neither.

Nationality: 7,092 foreigners (11%) and 63,878 Japanese.

Volunteer Role Assignments (total 70,970):

Guidance (Event Services or EVS): 16,710
Competition Events (SPT, etc.): 17,778
Mobility Support (driving, etc.): 5,393
Personal Support: 10,463
Operational Support: 7,493
Healthcare: 7,221
Technology (TEC, etc.): 1,831
Media (PRS): 3,022
Ceremonies (CER): 1,059
*Note that since EVS volunteers lost their roles due to no spectators, many were reassigned to other roles.

🍀 Tokyo 2020 City (City Cast) volunteers: A total of 30,000 city volunteers were originally recruited. However, only about 17,000 remained to work at the Olympics and/or the Paralympics. About 13,000 dropped out mainly due to COVID-19 fears and the banning of overseas visitors and all spectators.

Personal message from an equestrian volunteer. Typical sentiment of many volunteers.

September 6, 2021: At a press conference, TOCOG President Hashimoto Seiko states that she is proud that Japan hosted the Olympics and Paralympics despite the pandemic. She expresses her thanks to everyone. She also mentions that she is willing to head the organising committee if Sapporo wins the bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.

September 6, 2021: The giant Paralympic Agitos logo on a floating barge is removed from Odaiba Marine Park to be scrapped and recycled in Yokohama.

September 7–13, 2021: Tokyo 2020 ticket holders are able to download a PDF version of their unusable tickets. In Japan, those who paid for tickets with a VISA credit card would receive a credit on the card. Those who paid in cash would need to have a bank account to receive the refund during October 1–12, 2021.

September 8, 2021: Paralympic Village in Harumi closes.

🔴 🍀September 8, 2021: TOCOG reports that 323 coronavirus infections (80 foreigners and 243 Japan-based staff) were recorded during the Tokyo Paralympics. Only 13 Para athletes (out of 4,403), 11 volunteers (out of 24,514), 14 TOCOG members, 18 media people, 54 coaches and games officials, and 7 overseas staff at pre-games training camps got infected.

The remaining 236 infections were operations staff living in Japan. Only 17 of the infected were Para athletes’ village residents. Only three were hospitalized and soon discharged. No serious cases and no deaths. Covid safety measures effectively prevented Tokyo 2020 from becoming the Covid super spreader imagined by many people.

🍀September 2021: Survey of Games volunteers indicates that 80 percent of them want to continue being a sports volunteer.

September 11, 2021: Official Toyota vehicles used to transport athletes and officials during the Games start appearing on used car lots in places like Ehime, Okayama, and Kumamoto Prefectures. Their Tokyo 2020 design trimmings are left intact on the car. A used Prius PHV sells for around ¥3.5 million. About 2,700 Tokyo 2020 vehicles are to be sold as used cars. The cars sell well, and buyers are given the option to remove the Tokyo 2020 decorative decals.

September 16, 2021: Tokyo 2020 Official Online Shop and most physical shops in Tokyo start their “Tokyo 2020 Appreciation Sale” by offering a 30 percent discount on many official merchandise.

The ASICS online store also starts offering a 30 percent discount (later increased to 50 percent off) on their Tokyo 2020 merchandise.

September 2021: Pro soccer, baseball, and the sumo tournament (Kokugikan) in Tokyo continue to be held with spectators.

September 29, 2021: IOC announces that the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will ban overseas spectators. Only spectators from mainland China will be allowed to spectate if they meet the specific requirements for COVID-19 measures. All Beijng 2022 participants must also be vaccinated or else undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing. Games participants, including athletes, coaches, media, and volunteers, will be in a strict “closed loop” system during the Games, permitted to travel between venues only for training, competitions, or work.

September 30, 2021: About 5,000 TOCOG employees complete their employment contract. TOCOG is left with only 1,500 employees and more employees would eventually leave in the coming months.

Tokyo 2020 Participation Certificate to all Tokyo 2020 staff and volunteers
From late September 2021: Participation Certificate emailed to all Tokyo 2020 staff and volunteers.

Olympic Certificate on the left signed by IOC President Bach and TOCOG President Hashimoto Seiko, and the Paralympic Certificate on the right signed by IPC President Parsons and Hashimoto.

The Olympics Certificate is in English, French, and Japanese. But the Paralympic Certificate is only in English and Japanese.


Dismantling Tokyo 2020 Venues

October 1, 2021: Tokyo’s state of emergency is lifted, and the daily number of Covid cases in October drops dramatically to well below 100 and later below 50 per day.

October 1, 2021: The Tokyo 2020 Official Online Shop starts a 50 percent discount sale on many items.

A few of the many Tokyo 2020 pins and key chains sold by the Tokyo 2020 Official Shop.

October 17, 2021: While wearing a City Cast uniform, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko holds a thank you event for City Cast volunteers at TMG. About 340 City volunteers (most wearing the City cast uniform) attend the event highlighted by Governor Koike giving a thank you speech and presenting a letter of appreciation to the volunteers. About 30,000 City volunteers were orignally recruited for Tokyo 2020. However, about 13,000 dropped out due to the postponement, Covid fears, or the banning of spectators.

October 18, 2021: In Tokyo Metropolitan Government No. 1 Building, 2nd floor South side, TMG starts a Tokyo 2020 archives exhibition showing memorabilia including Olympic and Paralympic medals, Victory Bouquet, torch relay torches, and volunteer uniforms. Open every day 9:30 am– 6:15 pm.

October 21, 2021: TOCOG announces that during the Games, the Tokyo 2020 network systems and other tech infrastructure saw 450 million cases of cyber attacks which were all successfully blocked. This was twice the number of attacks on the London 2012 Games. There were many cases of password spraying attacks trying to hack into systems. NTT was in charge of cybersecurity and was apparently successful in preventing any cyber attacks from disrupting the Games.

October 24, 2021: The Daiba Shop in Aqua City shopping mall in Odaiba and the temporary Yurakucho Shop in Tokyo Sports Square (open since Oct. 16) become the last Tokyo 2020 official shops to close. The Marunouchi Shop closed on September 20 and the Tokyo Skytree Shop closed on September 27, 2021.

October 27, 2021: For the second time this year, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko is hospitalized for severe fatigue. She will need one week to rest, TMG announces.

October 31, 2021: Yumenoshima Park Archery Field (training field) reopens for public use.


November 2, 2021: The Olympic/Paralympic Village’s Village Plaza starts to be dismantled and the 40,000 pieces of homegrown lumber are to be returned to all 47 prefectures (63 municipaities) where the wood came from. The lumber had been branded with the name of the prefecture where it came from. It will take until Feb. 2022 to return all the wood to be reused in public works such as in schools and benches.

Olympic/Paralympic Village’s Village Plaza being dismantled in late November 2021. Right photo shows lumber branded with “Yamagata City” which donated the wood piece. All the wood (from all 47 prefectures) will be returned to their donors by February 2022.
Ariake Urban Sports Park (ASP) is almost totally gone in late November 2021. Just some piles of broken asphalt and mounds of dirt from the BMX race course. Deconstruction to be completed by mid-December 2021.

November 2, 2021: Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko is released from the hospital and starts to recuperate at home until the weekend. She is then ordered to telework from home for two weeks.

November 12, 2021: Survey by Kyodo News finds that at least 28,000 sets of City Cast uniforms are leftover from Tokyo 2020. Total 48,000 sets of uniforms for City Cast had been purchased by the 11 municipalities which had Tokyo 2020 venues and recruited City Cast volunteers. Tokyo Prefecture had the most leftover including 21,000 pairs of sneakers and 23,000 polo shirts. Each set of City Cast uniforms was purchased for ¥22,000 to ¥40,000 from official sponsor ASICS. The municipalities do not know what to do with the extra uniforms worth over ¥1.7 billion.

November 21, 2021: For first time in four weeks following her second hospitalization this year and recuperation at home, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko returns to work at her TMG office.

Tokyo 2020 Final Sale

November 23–30, 2021: Event called “Tokyo 2020 Mascot Greeting” and “Tokyo 2020 Final Sale” is held at Tokyo Sports Square in Yurakucho, Tokyo. Official mascots Miraitowa and Someity visit the site four times a day for a photo op. And the Final Sale is held by the Tokyo 2020 official shop selling merchandise (1,000 different products) at discounted prices (up to 80% off). There is also a display of torch relay torches and sports equipment used by athletes (archives exhibition). Similar to the Arigato Event held in the same building in October. Open 11:30 am to 7:00 pm.

November 30, 2021: After holding a 30%, 50%, and 80% discount sale on certain items, the Tokyo 2020 Official Online Shop shuts down.

To be continued…

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2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021


January 2022: Total cost of Tokyo 2020 is to be known, according to TOCOG.

February 4 to 20, 2022: Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games to be held in China without overseas spectators. The first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games.

March 4 to 13, 2022: Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games to be held in China without overseas spectators.

May 13–29, 2022: The 19th FINA World Championships 2022 to be held in Fukuoka, Japan with competitions in swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, artistic swimming, and open water swimming. About 2,400 participants from 190 countries and 500,000 spectators are expected.

July 26 – August 11, 2024: Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games to be held in Paris, France.

August 28 – September 8, 2024: Paris 2024 Paralympic Summer Games to be held in Paris, France.

February 6–22, 2026: Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games to be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

March 6–15, 2026: Milano Cortina 2026 Paralympic Winter Games to be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

July 21 to August 6, 2028: Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Summer Games (LA28) to be held in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Aug 22 – September 3, 2028: Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Summer Games (LA28) to be held in Los Angeles, California, USA.

February 8–24, 2030: 2030 Winter Olympics to be held. Host city to be announced. Sapporo already bid for the Games in January 2020.

Future Plans

Ariake Gymnastics Centre post-Olympics

The waterfront area (Odaiba, Aomi, Ariake, Tatsumi, Yumenoshima) will transform into the Rinkai Sports Zone with legacy areas to enjoy sports. There will be Oi Hockey Stadium, Sea Forest Waterway, Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, and Ariake Legacy Area (Ariake Urban Sports Park site, Ariake Arena, and Ariake Tennis Park) for urban sports. Ariake area will see shopping and sports facilities integrated.

The strategy is to make sports facilities more accessible, so kids can do sports easily and Japan can nurture more Olympians.

Almost all the new, permanent venues built for Tokyo 2020 are expected to operate in the red.

Ariake Arena is one of the very few new venues expected to turn a profit. Besides sporting events, it will host concerts and other diverse events.

Ariake Gymnastics Centre will become a trade show/exhibition space.

Olympic Stadium‘s high maintenance cost is estimated to be ¥2.4 billion/year for 50 years including repairs. This is more than twice the old Olympic/National Stadium’s annual maintenance cost (¥1.1 billion).

The stadium uses natural grass turf and the track was made by an Italian company, reputed to be “fast” for runners. The government is also considering to sell naming rights to the stadium, otherwise known as the “National Stadium” (Kokuritsu kyōgijō, same name as the old national stadium). There are not too many sports and concerts which will need this much capacity though.

Tokyo Aquatics Centre will take over from Tatsumi International Swimming Center (Tatsumi Water Polo Centre) as Tokyo’s main venue for aquatics competitions.

Tatsumi International Swimming Center (Tatsumi Water Polo Centre) will be converted into Tokyo’s first year-round ice rink In 2025. However, it is still expected to operate in the red. A private sector will be hired to operate the facility.

🎯2030 Winter Olympics Bid
The city of Sapporo is interested in bidding, and TOCOG President Hashimoto Seiko expressed her willingness to head the OCOG if Sapporo wins the bid. The host city will be decided in 2022 or 2023.

Arigato to everyone!

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no.
– Richard Branson

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
– Steve Jobs

Paper lantern signs with mottos by Japanese athletes: "Endure and you shall win." "Do not lose to yourself." At Katori Shrine in Koto Ward
Victory paper lanterns with mottos by Japanese athletes (in English below).
At Katori Shrine in Koto Ward, Tokyo on New Year’s Day 2020.
The shrine worships the “Sports God of Victory” (スポーツ振興の神) rooted in martial archery.

Endure and victory shall come. (耐えて勝つ)
Arai Hirooki (荒井 広宙), Race walker, Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist

Don’t lose to yourself. (自分に負けない)
Ono Chikako (小野 智華子), Paralympic swimmer

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. (七転び八起き)
– Old Japanese proverb

Major References:
・Various Japanese news sources: Kyodo, Yomiuri Shimbun, etc. (Many referenced Tokyo 2020 articles already deleted.)
・東京2020 第47回理事会 資料 Report by TOCOG (As of 2021.09.28)
・Facebook Group: 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics Volunteer Info