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Umbrella hats keep Tokyo 2020 volunteers cool, but look dorky

A volunteer worker whose role is to lead spectators to a test event venue is seen wearing a pilot umbrella hat at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward on July 26, 2019. (Mainichi/Koichi Uchida)

TOKYO -- About half of volunteers who tested "umbrella hats" introduced by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to prevent heat during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics said they were "conscious about how they looked," while many answered they thought the hats were effective in battling summer heat.

The hats were first introduced in May during Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike's regular news conference. The wearable umbrella is 60 centimeters in diameter and comes with a chin strap. In July and August, the metropolitan government had 49 volunteer workers wear the hats at test events for beach volleyball, the triathlon and field hockey and asked them about their usability and effectiveness.

Twenty-five of the 49 participants said they were conscious about how they looked with the hats on -- as pointed out on the internet and in TV programs where people said the hats looked "embarrassing." As for the effectiveness, of the 37 people who wore them at the beach volleyball test event under scorching heat of over 30 degrees Celsius, some 36 people said the headgear was "effective" or "somewhat effective."

A metropolitan government representative told the Mainichi, "While we have not been able to examine them scientifically, it is true that many people thought the hats were effective. We'll distribute them to all volunteers who wish to use them during the games next year."

(Japanese original by Akira Okubo, City News Department)

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