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Tokyo Olympic officials announce scaled-back ceremonies

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games conduct test screening measures for spectators and games officials in Tokyo on October 21. The committee said it will have scaled-back Opening and Closing ceremonies for the Games next summer.Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games conduct test screening measures for spectators and games officials in Tokyo on October 21. The committee said it will have scaled-back Opening and Closing ceremonies for the Games next summer.Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee said Wednesday the delayed Summer Olympics will have "simpler" opening and closing ceremonies due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee made the announcement while introducing design teams for the events. The Olympics were postponed last summer as the coronavirus raged across the country.

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"The ceremonies will still be a great celebration to be enjoyed by the athletes and watching world but will likely take a simpler and more restrained approach designed to reflect the overall simplification of the Games and the potential need to still consider COVID-19 countermeasures," the committee said in a statement.

The committee said Sasaki Hiroshi, who produced the original program for the Paralympics in 2020 Games, will be appointed as the chief executive creative director for both events.

"I want to express some sort of breakthrough or hope for the future (in the ceremonies)," Sasaki said in a news conference. "This is a chance to change the inflated image of Olympic ceremonies as being flamboyant stage shows."

Sasaki, an advertising agency owner, replaces Nomura Mansai as chief executive creative director.

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"With Mr. Sasaki's support, we will stage opening and closing ceremonies that will be remembered for many years to come as symbols of the unity and symbiosis of humankind in its overcoming of the COVID-19 pandemic," the committee said.

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