Nearly half of Japan's roughly 21,000 elementary schools have registered to vote on the mascots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the Games' organizing committee said Tuesday.

A total of 10,010 schools had signed up by Tuesday morning, according to the committee.

The organizing committee announced three pairs of shortlisted mascot candidates on Dec. 7. Voting opened on Dec. 11 and will close on Feb. 22. The winning pair of mascots will be announced on Feb. 28.

"We hope it will be a wonderful memory for the children," the organizing committee said. "We will continue to work toward getting the participation of as many schools as possible."