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Heatstroke prevention measures to be explored for Tokyo 2020

Lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are set to carry out a study on how heatstroke can be prevented during next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games amid stifling temperatures in Tokyo.

The study has been launched to find ways to protect both athletes and spectators during the Games. Japan recently experienced a deadly heatwave, with average temperatures in the mid-30s.

The Japan Times newspaper, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that the LDP study will focus on providing more information on heatstroke for overseas visitors, as well as protecting elderly people and others who may be vulnerable to the searing temperatures.

Opinions will be sought from the Environment Ministry and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Ex-Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki will lead the group of lawmakers carrying out the study.

The Times reported that 12,751 people were admitted to hospital in Japan last week due to heatstroke – a significant increase on last year’s figure of 8,641.

The news comes after the International Triathlon Union was forced to reduce the length of the running section of a Tokyo 2020 test event yesterday (Thursday) amid concerns over the heat.

The ITU halved the length of the running section of the race from 10km to 5km after temperatures crossed 30 degrees celsius – despite the early start time of 7:30am. The cycling and swimming sections remained unaffected.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee has already announced that next year’s marathon will begin at 6:30am in a move to avoid the worst of the heat.

Next year’s Olympics will be held from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics to follow from August 25 to September 6.