The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced on April 25 that the nation's elementary school children will likely choose the Game's mascot from the final candidates via voting.
The committee is expected to give each elementary class across Japan one vote on the final mascot candidates and will, as a rule, choose the one the children select the most.
"Seeking the opinions of the children will help boost the excitement for the Games," says organizing committee Vice Director General Masaaki Komiya. "I want to also use it as a chance to teach the children about leaving a legacy."
The committee is consulting the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and other related parties to decide the application requirements and screening method by mid-May, and a committee review panel will narrow the candidates for the mascot down to three or four by the end of the year. The vote will then be held at the beginning of 2018 with the intention of deciding the design of the mascot by the first half of the year.
According to the education ministry's School Basic Survey, in academic year 2016, there were 20,313 public and private elementary schools nationwide, making up a total of 271,764 classes. The organizing committee says it will be the first effort of its kind in the history of the Games.