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Olympic eye: Tokyo pruning trees it hopes will give spectators shade during games

A man is seen checking whether pruning is required on a tree lining the route where marathons are set to be held during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on July 4, 2019. (Mainichi/Yuki Miyatake)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been busy inspecting and pruning trees that line some roads in the capital, hoping they will provide cooling shade for spectators and others during the 2020 Games.

Measures to beat the heat during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have become an increasingly prevalent topic. The metropolitan government is growing trees to provide cooling shade for spectators and others on routes leading toward the tournaments' major venues, along its marathon courses and at other key games-related locations.

A total of some 44.9 kilometers of roadside trees at coastal sporting venues and other spots in the capital are being inspected. Since 2017, oriental plane trees, ginkgo trees and other varieties at 31 locations have been undergoing checks and pruning twice a year to ensure that their leaves and branches have not spread too far, and are not causing obstructions. When pruning the trees, workers make sure that they remain balanced enough to endure strong winds.

The checks are set to continue right up until the games begin. Compared to standing in direct exposure to the sun, being under the trees is said to cause a drop in perceived temperature of up to 7 degrees Celsius.

Chiaki Negoro, director of the planning section at the park division of the Bureau of Construction at the metropolitan government, commented, "We want to help ensure it's at least a little bit cooler and comfortable, thereby making it safer for people to enjoy the games as spectators."

(Japanese original by Yuki Miyatake, Photo Group)

* This series introduces Olympic-themed photos ahead of the Tokyo Games, which will open on July 24, 2020.

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