The Tokyo metropolitan government said Thursday that special invitations will be made to junior athletes from four disaster-hit prefectures when the Japanese capital hosts the 2020 Summer Games, in keeping with the branding of the competitions as "the reconstruction Olympics."
The youngsters will be from the northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, which were hard hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and from Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan, which has suffered from severe earthquakes.
The metropolitan government is hoping the children will not only witness the games up close, but will get to interact with athletes and have opportunities to experience the work of volunteers.
The capital will reach out to the Japanese Olympic Committee and the four prefectures for cooperation in drawing up concrete plans.
Other plans were also announced to plant trees from the four prefectures around the volleyball venue, Ariake Arena, as a symbol of the reconstruction.
"We have been pushing forward with projects that will proudly represent the name, reconstruction Olympics," Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said.
Organizers are also considering a plan to demonstrate the safety of goods from Fukushima Prefecture during the competitions to counter the damaging stories that have followed the nuclear disaster in the prefecture.