efe-epaTokyo

The organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was considering various measures to tackle potential extreme heat, as the country emerged from one of the worst summer heatwaves on record.

Friday saw temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit), a significant drop from last month's record-setting highs of 41.4 degrees, which led to concerns surrounding the health of athletes and spectators at the Olympics. The Games are scheduled to take place between Jul. 24 to Aug. 9, 2020.

In Tokyo, recent temperatures have remained above 31 degrees with high humidity between 9.00 am and 2.00 pm, leading the Japanese Ministry of Environment to advise against physical exertion to avoid heat-related illnesses.

During its latest visit to coordinate preparations for the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged Tokyo 2020 to start marathon races and some other outdoor Olympic events early in the morning, as well as taking other measures proposed by the Metropolitan government and Olympic organizers.

These include bringing the clocks forward by two hours during summer, which was proposed by the organization committee.

"We believe daylight saving time will not only boost heat counter-measures during the Games, but will also help protect the environment and realise a low-carbon society in Japan," Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya told EFE.

"This will be a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games if the government takes this initiative in 2020," Masaya added.

Although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to be in favor of the initiative and some polls even suggested support from Japanese citizens, detractors have argued against the change.

Critics argue that although bringing forward the clocks would lead to conservation of energy, workers would end up working more overtime because of the Japanese custom of not leaving the office before nightfall.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has also begun installing special asphalt on more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) of roads in the city center, including the Olympic marathon route.

It is a pavement coated with a reflective material of ultraviolet rays which will reduce surface temperature by about 8 degrees, a Tokyo government official told EFE.

"We are looking into ways to improve the thermal environment on Metropolitan roads, including competition courses for the Games," said the official.

There are also plans to install water vaporizers at sites where outdoor public gatherings are expected, and to plant trees to increase shaded areas.