Japan discusses time change at Tokyo Olympics for extreme heat

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Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said turning the clocks forward one or two hours during the Olympics “may be one solution” to combat potential heat-wave temperatures in two years, according to Japanese reports.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said he and Abe discussed the possibility Friday, according to Kyodo News.

“We were working under the premise that temperatures wouldn’t exceed 40 degrees [Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit],” organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, according to Kyodo. “We’ve now recognized how serious this is.”

A deadly heatwave that recently gripped Japan focused organizers on ways to keep fans and athletes cool when the Olympics begin on July 24, 2020.

Potential for scorching summer conditions has always concerned organizers, with temperatures in central Tokyo often exceeding 95 degrees in July and August, made more difficult because of high humidity.

This summer heatwave has resulted in more than 65 deaths and sent tens of thousands to hospitals. The temperature on Monday reached 106, the highest ever recorded in Japan.

Experts have warned the risk of heatstroke in Tokyo has escalated in recent years, while noting the Olympics are expected to take place in conditions when sports activities should normally be halted.

“We are mindful that we do have to prepare for extreme heat,” John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Games, told a recent news conference.

Local organizers are doing what they can to help athletes combat the conditions. The marathon and some other outside events will be held early in the morning to avoid extreme heat.

The federal and the Tokyo metropolitan governments are also planning to lay pavements that emit less surface heat and plant taller roadside trees for shade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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