The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has revealed its venue capacity plans for next year’s event, while also claiming progress in sustainability efforts.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that the capital’s New National Stadium (pictured last month), the centrepiece of the Games for athletics, football and the opening and closing ceremonies, has had its capacity set at 68,000.

Kyodo noted that due to Tokyo 2020’s cost-cutting efforts some venue capacities are smaller than originally presented in the candidature file for the bid. Ajinomoto Stadium, which will host football and rugby sevens, has been listed at 48,000, while the Tokyo Aquatics Center will have a capacity of 15,000.

Fukushima’s Azuma Stadium, a softball and baseball venue that was an addition to the candidature file, will have a capacity of 14,300. Shizuoka Prefecture’s Fuji Speedway, where cycling’s road race will conclude, will hold 22,000 spectators, while capacity at the sailing venue at Enoshima Yacht Harbor in Kanagawa Prefecture has been set at 3,600.

Meanwhile, the Sustainability Progress Report has been published, summarising progress, made mainly during 2018, in the implementation of the Tokyo 2020 Sustainability Plan. The report covers areas including procurement and venue and infrastructure construction or renovation and was prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards Core Option, a set of international standards governing sustainability reporting.

Tokyo 2020 published version two of its Sustainability Plan in June 2018, but has come under scrutiny of late. Earlier this year, the organising committee came under renewed fire over its sourcing of timber for facilities being developed for the Games, with a group of non-governmental organisations claiming that the practice will leave a “bitter legacy” for Japan.

The 10 NGOs issued a joint statement criticising a recent revision of Tokyo 2020’s timber sourcing policy, claiming that the amendments represented little real change. In November, Tokyo 2020 rejected renewed claims from the US-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN), one of the 10 signatories of the new statement, that facilities being developed for Tokyo’s event are using wood that has been obtained through illegal logging.

In its report issued yesterday (Tuesday), Tokyo 2020 highlighted a number of key activities and achievements. It said 63 municipalities across Japan have joined Operation BATON (Building Athletes’ village with Timber of the Nation). The project aims to construct the Village Plaza using sustainably sourced Japanese timber donated by local authorities across Japan, before dismantling it after the Games in order to return the timber for reuse in the communities.

Tokyo 2020 said it was one of the first signatories of the UN Sport for Climate Action framework launched in December. Efforts have been made towards offsetting CO2 emissions in collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Saitama Prefectural Government. Tokyo 2020 is also encouraging citizens participation in activities to reduce and absorb CO2.

Energy-saving initiatives and renewable energy technology have been installed at the new permanent venues being built, with Tokyo 2020 stating it has also worked to ensure accessibility at these venues is in accordance with its Accessibility Guidelines.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said: “The involvement of a large number of people will be essential if we are to realise the sustainability of the Games, and it is through the cooperation of various people from Japan and around the world that we have been able to advance a number of specific initiatives to date.

“With about one year and four months left until the Games, the year 2019 will see Tokyo 2020 undergo a sea change as we transition from the planning phase to the operations phase, which will entail a shift in focus to the respective Games competition venues. This year will be extremely important in our efforts to ensure that sustainability is given adequate consideration.

“All members of Tokyo 2020 will work as one to cultivate a deeper awareness of their respective roles and ensure that sustainability is incorporated into all of our activities as we look toward 2020 and beyond.”

In addition to Tuesday’s progress report, Tokyo 2020 plans to publish a pre-Games report in the spring of 2020 and a post-Games report in December 2020.

Image: Tokyo 2020