Volunteers Seeking New Roles in No-Spectator Tokyo Olympics

Society Politics Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, July 27 (Jiji Press)--People who were supposed to guide Olympic spectators and tourists are now seeking new roles as they lost the chance to do the jobs for the Tokyo Games.

With most Tokyo Olympic events having no live spectators due to a resurgence of the novel coronavirus, some local governments decided to cancel their volunteer programs while others are trying to find new ways for volunteers to play their roles.

"I'm so glad that I was able to get involved in the Tokyo Olympics even a little," said Marina Numakami, 55, who was guiding people at the "second Olympic cauldron," set up in the waterfront area in Tokyo's Koto Ward. For some two hours Monday, she provided people visiting the site with "uchiwa" fans and other items to prevent them from suffering heatstroke.

"I was very disappointed at the decision to ban spectators (for most Olympic venues), which deprived me of my volunteer job," Numakami recalled. But she decided to apply for a new volunteer program introduced by the Tokyo metropolitan government. "I was desperate to wear a Tokyo Games volunteer uniform," she said.

"The Tokyo Games could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance," said Osamu Shimoda, another volunteer worker at the second Olympic cauldron. "I was able to interact with other volunteer workers who had been strangers," he added.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press Tokyo 2020