The Olympics at Tokyo are set to take place at an unprecedented time. After being postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Games will now take place in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has globally infected more than 185 million people and killed over four million, remains the primary concern. Not just the global pandemic, several other factors can pose challenges for the Tokyo Olympics.
Here are some of those challenges:
Ahead of the Games, Japan has imposed a state of emergency in Tokyo. The rules aimed at restricting the public from gathering to watch the games came into effect on July 12 and will last till August 22.
Also, fans have been barred from venues in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, which make up the majority of Olympic venues.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo's brutal summer heat and humidity were the main health concerns for organisers. The last time when the city hosted the Games in 1964, the event was shifted to October to avoid the heat. This year, this will be exacerbated by the need to wear masks and face shields.
To beat the summer heat, the Olympic marathon and racewalks have been moved to the northern island of Hokkaido. Also, the fans have been barred from largely all sports, which prevents them from sizzling in the sun.
Japan sits on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and thus is regularly rattled by earthquakes. Before the Games were postponed last year, large-scale exercises were organised to rehearse the response to a massive quake.
Japan is regularly battered by typhoons, especially from May to October, peaking in August and September.
In 2019, the country hosted the Rugby World Cup, three pool matches of which were cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis. The natural disaster had left about 100 dead and caused widespread flooding.
The Olympics organisers have said they have contingency plans for various natural disasters, "prioritising the safety of spectators and people involved", reported news agency AFP. However, they've not divulged the details of the plan.