Concerned about athletes and spectators suffering heatstroke during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Environment Ministry plans to install monitoring devices this month in an experiment to measure the temperature and humidity at the planned stadium site and marathon route in an effort to understand the risk of heatstroke during the Olympics which will run for two weeks from July 25, 2020.
The devices will not only measure temperature and humidity, but also sunlight intensity reflected from road surfaces and sidewalks, Sankei Shimbun reported. The ministry said the devices will issue four levels of heatstroke danger: “caution”, “vigilance”, “strict vigilance” and “danger.”
The measuring instruments will be set up on Aug 19 at three sites near the outer garden of the Imperial Palace, which will be part of the marathon course. By next year, in addition to the Olympic Stadium, a total of 10 locations will have measuring instruments installed to collect further data.
The Environment Ministry is also working with a panel set up last year by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to come up with ways to cool down streets and sidewalks during the Tokyo Olympics. The panel is headed by Tetsuo Yai, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology's Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering.
Ever since Tokyo was awarded the Games, there has been criticism over the fact that they will be held during the brutal Japanese summer months, sparking a great deal of worry for participants and spectators alike, who, while outdoors for extended periods of time, may suffer from heatstroke.
A land ministry report said that the surface temperature of roads and sidewalks at this time of year could easily rise to 60 degrees C and recommends that water-retention technology be used lower the temperature.
The ministry is looking at installing special water sprinkler systems on the tracks and other areas in an effort to fight the scorching heat. The ministry is also proposing the use of misting systems and road pavement material that absorbs large amounts of rain water. In theory, the water would then evaporate into the atmosphere, forcing the temperature to drop significantly, thus further preventing heatstroke and other ailments during the Games.
Other proposals being considered are planting more trees along main streets and creating shaded areas on sidewalks.
Tokyo last hosted the summer Olympics in 1964 -- from Oct 10-24, when temperatures were much cooler.© Japan Today