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Tokyo 2020 opens volleyball arena

A general view during the press preview of Ariake Arena, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games venue on November 21, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

The Ariake Arena in Tokyo, the venue for volleyball and wheelchair basketball events at this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics, was inaugurated at the weekend with a sports, entertainment and culture ceremony.

The arena has a spectator capacity of 15,000. It will host 16 days of volleyball competition during the Olympics.

The venue was built by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and after the Olympics will reopen, in 2021, as a sports, entertainment and culture venue. After the Olympics, it will be run by Tokyo Ariake Arena Inc, a special purpose company which has agreed the first ever concession agreement with the TMG to run such a venue.

Construction on the venue was completed in December. Its design features a concave roof that reduces the indoor space and therefore needs for air conditioning and lighting.

The venue has been specially-designed with accessibility for the elderly, wheelchair users, parents with young children and people with guide dogs in mind. Features include wheelchair-accessible seats that will give spectators a good view even if those seated in front are standing up.

Sunday’s inauguration was attended by Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo Governor; Seiko Hashimoto, minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games; and Yasuhiro Yamashita, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee. The show features demonstrations by the Japanese national volleyball and wheelchair basketball teams, a traditional Japanese shishi-mai lion dance, and a J-Pop concert. Attendees were free to explore the venue after the performances.

The last of the eight newly-built venues for Tokyo 2020, the aquatics centre, will be completed this month.