Organisers of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have begun to release details of the “scaled down” version of the event now planned for 2021.
A spokesperson for the organising committee said the need to postpone the Games as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic had posed “considerable challenges”.
“But we believe that even the scaled-down version will still deliver an Olympic Games that people will enjoy and remember,” the spokesperson said.
“Right now all I can say is that the opening ceremony will be far less lavish than the one we had originally planned.
“In fact it will consist entirely of the playing of the Olympic and Japanese anthems, a couple of short speeches, followed by a very basic ribbon-cutting.
“For that we’ve engaged 82-year-old Japanese actor Ose Koichi best known for his lead role as Shintaro in the 1960s black-and-white TV serial The Samurai (pictured) who’ll wield a sword and cut the ribbon to declare the Games open.
“He’s already been spending a lot of time practising at the main stadium — a junior soccer club pitch in the back blocks of Tokyo that seats a couple of hundred people (main picture) — just to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
“As for the closing ceremony, well we’ll be releasing details of that soon.
“But for now I can say that on the last night of the Games we’ll be asking those who plan to be sitting in the stadium to bring a megaphone and we’ll supply the karaoke machine and giant screen,” the spokesperson said.