TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world and an iconic part of the Japanese capital’s skyline, was lit in the colours of the Paralympics on Monday to commemorate one year until the start of the rearranged Games.
Along with the Olympic Summer Games, scheduled to have been held in Tokyo this year, the Paralympics have been shifted until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 634-metre tall Tokyo Skytree was first lit in blue to commemorate health workers who have been on the front line in fighting the virus before being turned red, blue and green, the colours of the Paralympics.
Other buildings around Tokyo that will play host to the Games next year were also lit up on Monday.
“The people of the world are also waiting to witness the Paralympic Games,” said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in a statement on Monday.
“In order to respond to everyone’s hopes, we will first devote all of our efforts to winning the fight against an invisible enemy – the novel coronavirus.”
“We will work … to hold a successful Games brimming with hope, which will serve as a symbol of humankind.”
In an interview with the Tokyo 2020 website, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, said he hoped that positives could come out of the postponement.
“Because of the pandemic, because of the situation we are in, we are trying to focus on what is essential to deliver the Games,” he said, adding that organisers were looking at ways to save money.
In March, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee made the unprecedented decision to postpone the Tokyo Games until 2021.
The Paralympics will now run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 next year.
The rearranged Olympic Games will begin on July 23.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)