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Tokyo marks 100 days to Olympic Games with new statues, decorations

Tokyo, Apr 14 (EFE).- With exactly 100 days to go before the inauguration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Japanese capital held a subdued event Wednesday in which it unveiled statues of the Olympic rings as well as the mascots of the games.

The closed-door ceremony, broadcast online, was held simultaneously outside the Tokyo government building and Mount Takao, located in the west of the Japanese capital.

Among those present at the ceremony was Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Vice President Toshiaki Endo and swimmer Junichi Miyashita, a bronze medalist for Japan at Beijing 2008.

Koike expressed her desire to see athletes from around the world in 100 days competing in what she described as “a memorable event” due to the circumstances under which they will be held, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We hope this Tokyo 2020 Games will be a symbol of sustainable recovery. We need to be meticulous and bold at the same time [and] prepare ourselves for the Games,” Koike said in her opening remarks.

Endo acknowledged that there mixed feelings among the Japanese people about the Games and added that the the organizers are continuing efforts to strengthen safety measures to enable athletes to deliver their best performances.

“The Games will be a celebration of resilience, of solidarity, and of our shared humanity. Together, the world has faced an unprecedented crisis and Tokyo 2020 is committed to offering a light of hope and solace this summer,” Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko said on Wednesday.

“Over the next 100 days, Tokyo 2020 will continue fine-tuning its plans,” he added. “Tokyo 2020 will also finalize decisions such as spectator capacity in venues. All decisions will be made with the ultimate goal of ensuring a safe environment where athletes can give their very best.”

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to kick off on July 23 following an unprecedented one-year postponement due to Covid, which has also led to the decision to exclude overseas visitors from attending the event as a measure to contain the spread of the virus.

The organizers have yet to determine whether spectators will be allowed, and how many, among other details.

In a bit to build excitement about the Games, colorful statues of Miraitowa and Someity – the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots – were unveiled outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (TMG).

These will be exhibited at iconic spots of the Japanese capital such as the TMG building, the Yoyogi and Ueno parks and Mount Mitake.

However, the exhibition will remain closed for the time being as Tokyo is in a semi-state of emergency due to a surge in Covid-19 infections, which has led the city to put restrictions on businesses and urge its inhabitants to avoid leaving their homes unless necessary.

A statue of the Olympic rings was also unveiled atop Mount Takao, a popular tourist destination, amid mist and rain on Wednesday.

The statue will travel through various parts of the city.

The Tokyo authorities also announced a plan to decorate the streets around the Olympic village and sports venues with some 2,500 banners that will be installed on the streetlights and replace the some 47,000 that have already adorned major avenues of the city since last year to mark the event. EFE

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