There is considerable concern about the cost of the Tokyo Games, set to begin in about 18 months. But on another measure of the popularity of the Games, the organizers have nothing to worry about.
The first phase of the recruitment drive for volunteers to assist at the Games closed last week, with 80,000 volunteers specified as the target. Interest was much greater, reported at 162,000 applications in some media and 186,101 by the Asahi Shimbun. About 63% of all applicants were women and an imposing 37% of the applicants were from outside Japan!
Even better for the organizing committee, about 60% of the applicants indicated a willingness to assist for at least 11 days.
The International Olympic Committee, obsessed about youth interest in the Games, were happy to hear that 22% of all applicants were teenagers and 29% were individuals in their 20s.
A parallel application period for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government also closed last week, with 28,689 applications received. The government work force will be assisting visitors at airports, train stations and major tourist attractions. The government indicated it would use about 20,000 volunteers and up to an additional 10,000 provided by smaller cities in the greater Tokyo area.
Those numbers are a considerable endorsement of the Games from the people of Japan itself, a strong sign of local interest in making the Games a success.