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Tokyo Olympic Games: Opening and closing ceremonies to be pared back

The opening and closing ceremonies of Tokyo's...

Posted: Dec 23, 2020 8:59 AM
Updated: Dec 23, 2020 9:15 AM

The opening and closing ceremonies of Tokyo's Olympic Games will be carried out with a 'simpler, more restrained approach,' the Organizing Committee announced on Wednesday.

The ceremonies will be designed to 'reflect the overall simplification of the Games' with Covid-19 countermeasures in place.

Tokyo's Organizing Committee made no announcements about how the opening and closing ceremonies format would be different or modified.

'It is appropriate to make ceremonial events and programs simpler and have them in some way reflect and respect the world's experience of the Covid-19 pandemic,' the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee statement said on Wednesday.

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The Tokyo Organizing Committee held a media conference on Wednesday and announced it was creating a new team that will help prepare the events.

The new team hopes that the iconic opening and closing of the Olympic Games includes 'symbols of the unity and symbiosis of humankind in its overcoming of the Covid-19 pandemic,' added the statement.

The news comes as Japan's virus death toll tops 3,007, according to figures released on Wednesday.

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Japan's Ministry of Health reported 2,683 new coronavirus infections and 50 deaths for Tuesday. Tokyo is the worst-hit city, with 563 cases discovered in the last 24 hours.

Earlier this week, the Organizing Committee said the budget for the upcoming games totals $15.4 billion, including costs of postponement and additional Covid-19 countermeasures being taken. This is an increase from $12.6 billion forecast prior to the Olympics.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto called the additional costs a 'positive investment' and said the games would be a 'role model' for big international events during the pandemic.

Muto reiterated that the details of the game including the scale of the ceremonies, the numbers of foreign spectators, and virus prevention measures will be decided this spring.

In November, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach said he was 'very, very confident' spectators would be able to attend next year's postponed Tokyo Games.

With the Olympics due to begin on July 23 in 2021, Bach said he was hopeful that vaccines would allow the Games to proceed as close to normal as possible in a 'post-coronavirus world.'

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