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Editorial: With a year until the Tokyo Games, are preparations sufficient?

It's now exactly a year until the start of the Tokyo Olympics. Provisional selection of some swimmers for the national team has begun, and uniforms for volunteers who will be supporting the games have been made public. Momentum as the host country will likely grow as time goes on.

The biggest challenge that stands before us is traffic congestion.

Because event sites will be spread out over a wide area, it is said that the success of the Tokyo Olympics depends on how smoothly people can be transported from one location to another. The goal of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is to reduce traffic in Tokyo and its surrounding areas by 10 percent during the Games.

Tests have begun to alleviate crowding and traffic jams by adopting staggered commuting and teleworking. It is a large-scale experiment that, in addition to the national government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, involves the participation of around 3,000 companies and organizations.

On July 24, large-scale regulations comprising all-day closure of entry into the Metropolitan Expressway close to the new National Stadium were implemented.

While these measures are intended to help the smooth operation of the Summer Olympics next year, they must not interfere with the everyday lives of everyday people. We request that both the organizing committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government verify that this does not happen.

Measures against the heat are also vital.

As an anti-terrorism measure, past Olympics had banned spectators from bringing their own drinks into sports venues. But the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee is considering allowing spectators at the 2020 Games to do so, as a basic preventative measure against heatstroke is water intake. We hope this proposal is adopted.

How to communicate information about the Japanese climate -- high temperatures and high humidity -- and about natural disasters, such as heavy rainfall, to foreigners who will be visiting Japan during the games will also be a challenge.

The Japan Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of the Environment, among others, have increased the number of languages with which they provide information on their respective websites. But simply having each organization put out information separately will not help spread information widely and uniformly. Perhaps it is necessary to put all information on a single website, doing away with the borders that separate various government agencies and ministries.

Ticket sales have been problematic as well.

Because of the large volume of applicants who came up empty-handed after the first domestic lottery to purchase tickets, organizers, who had intended to make the remaining tickets first come, first serve, decided instead to have a second lottery for the tickets. We praise that decision.

The tickets that remain after the supplemental lottery are set to go on sale next spring at the earliest, but there do not appear to be any specific measures planned for dealing with the potential glut of would-be spectators flocking to buy a limited number of tickets.

The Tokyo Games are the first Summer Games that Japan will host with priority consideration for environmental sustainability. It was with the cooperation of local governments, corporations and citizens that the organizing committee was able to secure recycled metal to make all of its medals.

In the coming year, let us overcome the challenges that stand before us with the participation, cooperation and expanding networks of ordinary citizens.

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