Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organisers have event-specific plans in event of natural disasters

While Japan and IOC maintain that the Olympics will go ahead on schedule, there are event-specific plans for natural disasters that regularly strike the island nation

Reuters March 05, 2020 11:30:41 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organisers have event-specific plans in event of natural disasters
  • As the coronavirus spreads, concerns have arisen about whether the Olympics can proceed at all and what fallback plans Japan has for postponement or cancellation

  • Officials in Japan and at the International Olympic Committee have sought to reassure the public that the Games will go ahead as scheduled, despite the epidemic

  • Competitions would be cancelled if the venues were hit by a quake measuring an upper-6 or 7 on Japan’s intensity index, which runs to 7

Tokyo: Organisers of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics have contingency plans to cancel competitions in the event of a strong earthquake or other natural disasters, the Mainichi newspaper said.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Organisers have eventspecific plans in event of natural disasters

People wearing masks sit in front of a countdown clock for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. AP Photo

As the coronavirus spreads in Japan, and rapidly through the world, concerns have arisen about whether the Olympics, set to open on 24 July, can proceed at all and what fallback plans Japan has for postponement or cancellation.

Officials in Japan and at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have sought to reassure the public that the Games will go ahead as scheduled, despite the epidemic, but the Mainichi said there are event-specific plans for natural disasters that regularly strike the island nation.

Under the plans, competitions would be cancelled if the venues were hit by a quake measuring an upper-6 or 7 on Japan’s intensity index, which runs to 7, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sources involved in the organising committee.

Unlike a magnitude reading, which measures the inherent strength of a quake, intensity measures the amount of shaking felt at a given place.

Japan often experiences earthquakes, but an upper-6 is one where it is impossible to stand, windows are likely to break and most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse.

In addition, the Mainichi said, the plans call for halting events if the authorities issue a 4 or higher on Japan’s 5-point disaster-warning system for a typhoon or other disaster.

The Tokyo 2020 press office did not respond to a request for comment.

A powerful typhoon forced the cancellation of three matches in last year’s Rugby World Cup.

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