In 2020, the capital city of Japan will host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. This will be the second time that the Olympic Games will take place in Tokyo, which previously welcomed the world in 1964. Tokyo had also been selected to host the 1940 Olympic Games which were later cancelled due to World War II.
Tokyo will be the fifth city overall, but the first in Asia, to host the Olympic Summer Games more than once, joining Athens, Paris, London and Los Angeles. Japan has also hosted two editions of the Olympic Winter Games, Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998, making it the third country, behind the United States and France, to host at least four Olympic Games.
The Games will officially open on July 24, continuing through to August 9.
Tokyo earned the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games at the 125th IOC Session on September 7, 2013, receiving 60 votes to defeat Istanbul’s 36 votes in the third round. Madrid had been eliminated in the second round. Four years earlier, Tokyo had finished third in voting for the 2016 Olympic Games which were awarded to Rio.
How does Team Canada qualify for Tokyo 2020?
In some sports, qualification will be based on world ranking lists that close in spring 2020. But many sports have direct qualification based on results achieved in particular events. Click here to learn more about the qualification opportunities remaining for Team Canada athletes from January to June 2020.
Stay up to date on the sports in which Canada has earned spots for Tokyo 2020 with our official qualification tracker.
Getting to Know Japan
An archipelago comprised of four main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu), Japan sits between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula. Tokyo is on Honshu, the largest of the islands.
With a population of nearly 127 million, Japan is the 11th most populous country in the world. More than 98% of the population is ethnically Japanese. The country has the third-longest life expectancy in the world, behind only Monaco and Macau. Tokyo itself is home to more than 38 million people, making it the country’s largest city.
Japan has a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy. Since January 1989 the head of state has been Emperor Akihito. The official language of the country is Japanese. Japan’s national anthem, “Kimigayo”, was unofficial since 1883 before being adopted in 1999. The lyrics date back to at least the 10th century, making them the oldest national anthem lyrics in the world.
Japan runs on Japanese Standard Time which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Tokyo 2020 Mascot
Miraitowa is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot. A traditional Japanese proverb that means to learn old things well and to acquire new knowledge from them is the origin of the mascot’s personality, combining an old-fashioned side that respects tradition and an innovative side that loves cutting-edge information and ideas. The name also reflects that, with “Mirai” meaning “future” and “Towa” meaning eternity. Highly athletic with a strong sense of justice, Miraitowa’s special skill is the ability to move anywhere instantaneously like a ninja. On the body and head is the same indigo ichimatsu pattern as the Games emblem.
Tokyo 2020 Torch
With its cherry blossom motif, the torch to be used for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay has been designed with the people and history of Japan in mind. Approximately 30 percent of the torch is made from recycled aluminum originally used in the construction of houses after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, symbolizing Japanese efforts towards reconstruction and sustainability. The torch’s flames emerge from five “flower petals,” corresponding to the five Olympic rings. The flames join at the centre to form a brilliant light, representing the Olympic flame and aligning with Tokyo 2020’s concept of “Hope Lights Our Way.”
The Japanese leg of the torch relay will begin on March 26, 2020 to coincide with cherry blossom season in Japan. Beginning in Fukushima and traveling south, the flame will traverse Japan for 121 days, visiting all 47 of the country’s prefectures. The torch’s all-encompassing journey aims to showcase solidarity with the regions still recovering from the 2011 earthquake. Roughly 10,000 torchbearers of all ages will be involved with the relay.
Tokyo 2020 Medals
Like the Olympic torch, the medals awarded to athletes at Tokyo 2020 will contribute to a legacy of sustainability. Since the announcement of the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project in February 2017, approximately 5000 medals have been produced for the Olympic and Paralympic Games from electronic devices such as used mobile phones – all donated by people in Japan. This process follows in the footsteps of Vancouver 2010 where medals were made from recycled televisions, computers, and keyboards.
As is tradition, the front of the medals will feature Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, pictured in front of the Panathinaikos Stadium along with the official name of the Games, and the Olympic rings. To design the appearance of the reverse side, Tokyo 2020 held a public competition which attracted more than 400 entries. The medals are intended to resemble rough stones that shine after being polished, symbolizing themes of light and brilliance.
Tokyo 2020 Venues
The 42 competition venues will be divided primarily into two zones, with the Olympic Village situated at the intersection of both, keeping the majority of the venues within an 8km distance.