Organizers Show Off Athletes' Village A Month Before Tokyo Olympics Begin

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Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics opened the 44-hectare athletes' village to the media on Sunday, showing off rooms and a timber-laced shopping plaza where 18,000 athletes and officials will stay during the sporting extravaganza.

The once-delayed Games are due to start on July 23 amid concern that the influx of thousands of people from around the world would contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Athletes will be shuttled in and out of the the village in Harumi and be tested for the coronavirus every day. Olympic rules ban singing and chanting during events and require athletes to wear masks at all times except when outdoors, sleeping or eating.

The Village Plaza shopping area includes an automatic teller machine, dry cleaner, post office, florist, bank and courier counter.

"Where you can see bare light bulbs, we'll install lanterns to give the area a bit more of a traditional Japanese feel," said Yoshie Ogawa, a director at the Tokyo 2020 marketing bureau.

The wooden plaza, which draws on Japanese minimalist design aesthetics, follows the Tokyo 2020 theme of using timber in the construction of Olympics venues, including the National Stadium.

The 2.4 billion yen shopping area was made from 40,000 pieces of timber donated by 63 Japanese municipal governments. Each donated piece is marked with the name of the area that provided the wood. The athletes' rooms have two beds whose frames are made from recycled cardboard.

After the Olympics, it will be dismantled and the timber returned to the donating cities for re-use in local facilities.

The apartment complex abutting the shopping plaza was built on reclaimed land. It includes shops, a park and a school. The buildings will be converted into apartments after the Olympics.

The development of the housing project cost the Tokyo government 54 billion yen, including road work and infrastructure.

Organizers were originally planning to feed residents of the village in vast dining halls – the largest with a capacity to seat 4,500 people.

Athletes will dine on tables with transparent acrylic panels, while staff will wipe down surfaces after meals to curb the spread of the virus.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

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