500 day countdown begins

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Images, using projection-mapping technology, are beamed on a building of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office during a countdown event to mark three years until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – The pictograms for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics were unveiled yesterday at an event to mark 500 days to go until the Summer Games.

Pictograms for each sport, including the five new sports that will feature at Tokyo 2020, will feature on tickets, television graphics and venues and are one of the key visual elements of any Olympic Games.

Baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing and speed climbing will all feature at Tokyo 2020 as organisers target a younger audience.

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When Tokyo last hosted the Summer Games in 1964, it was the first Olympics to include pictograms.

They have featured at every Games since. The concept was introduced to make all sports easy to comprehend across the world.

“The sports pictograms were officially used for the first time at the 1964 Tokyo Games; Japanese designers, predecessors, pioneering designers, created this great legacy,” explained designer Masaaki Hiromura.

“Having that as our starting point, for the Tokyo 2020 Games we wanted a more modern design, incorporating athletes’ dynamism and trying to express their muscle movements, yet keeping it simple.”

Stamps celebrating next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games went on sale.

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Organisers also used the opportunity to launch the Tokyo 2020 caravan project.

A promotional bus will travel across the three prefectures most deeply affected by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami as Tokyo 2020 reflects the theme of ‘reconstruction Olympics’.

The caravan will tour Tokyo before heading north to Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.

Softball, the first event on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic schedule, will begin in Fukushima two days before the opening ceremony on July 24.

With 500 days to go until the start of the summer showpiece, organisers were confident that preparations are on schedule.

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Most of the venues are between 50-70 percent complete ahead of test events that will kick off in earnest this coming summer.

The new Olympic Stadium, which will host the opening ceremony, is scheduled for completion by November.

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