In Brief

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Japan PM Shinzo Abe orders daylight saving time study

Athlete safety is a concern but the public and businesses are divided by the proposal

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has instructed the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party to conduct a study into the introduction of daylight saving time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Games are scheduled for July and August - Tokyo’s hottest and most humid months - and there are concerns over athlete safety during the intense heat.

The Japan Times reports that Olympic officials are “considering a plan to move clocks two hours forward”, but the public and business sectors are divided over the plans. The BBC says the proposal has seen “major opposition on social media with many worried it would result in longer working hours”. 

While no plans have yet been confirmed, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the potential introduction of daylight saving time would have a major impact on people’s lives in the Japanese capital.

The BBC’s Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes writes: “A combination of the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2018 summer heatwave have brought this issue to a head.

“There is genuine concern that the heat could put athletes’ lives at risk. And so, the Japanese government is considering moving the clocks forward two hours between June and August, on a trial basis next year, and then for the Olympics in 2020.

“But there could be resistance. Japan tried daylight saving once before - during the post-war American occupation.

“Workers complained the evening sunshine just allowed their bosses to keep them working even longer. In 1952 when occupation ended, daylight saving was abandoned.”

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