Fears for the welfare of athletes at Tokyo 2020 have increased after a construction worker was reported to have collapsed and died from heatstroke while working at a construction site for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A total of 57 people have died across Japan as a result of a heatwave between July 29 and August 4 and the country’s main broadcaster NHK reports another 18,347 people have been taken to hospital.
The 50-year-old man was allegedly found lying on the ground yesterday afternoon outside Tokyo Big Sight – a venue that is being renovated to become the media centre for the Olympic and Paralympic Games – where he had been laying electric cables.
He was rushed to hospital but later confirmed dead, according to Tokyo 2020 organisers.
NHK reports that 45 people have died in Tokyo since August 1, with temperatures remaining above 31 degrees celsius since July 24.
Concerns over heat rose last year after Japan suffered a record heatwave amid temperatures of 41.1 degrees celsius.
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee had already introduced a number of countermeasures to deal with the expected heat at the Olympic Games, scheduled to run between July 24 and August 9 next year.
Organisers are considering allowing spectators to take their own bottled water into venues under certain conditions, which had previously been prevented at past editions of the Games due to security and sponsorship.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been installing special coatings on the city centre’s roads, including areas of the marathon course, with materials that are expected to suppress temperature rises by as much as eight degrees celsius.
At the recent beach volleyball test event in Tokyo, misting sprays and air-conditioned tents were among features trialled to combat the effects of rising temperatures.