Disproportionate amount of foreign volunteers is perhaps the first of its kind in Olympic history.

Volunteer recruitment for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was initially met with resistance, but after using various methods like university credits to entice student volunteers, it appears the Organizing Committee has finally surpassed the anticipated 80,000 positions.

On the morning of 20 November, the Olympic Committee announced that a total of 81,035 volunteers have been recruited, which was way ahead of the 21 December deadline.

60 percent of applicants were women according to the report, but what was most astonishing was the fact that an incredible 44 percent consisted of people from foreign nationalities, a stark contrast to previous Olympics where the majority of volunteers were locals. It was not revealed if the foreign volunteers were already living in Japan or visiting as tourists.

▼ The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in comparison,
only had five percent of foreign volunteers.

An overall age breakdown revealed that 32 percent were in their 20s, with 17 percent in their teens and 14 percent in the 50s. Among the Japanese volunteers, 22 percent were in their 50s, with 19 percent in their teens and 12 percent in their 20s.

Of the nine different desired ways to help, operation support at competition venues ranked the most popular, and logistic support using cars came in last. While numerous applicants are still being processed, a total of 132,335 people have registered interest in volunteering.

Although the committee has been heavily criticized for exploiting people with 8-hour work days over a ten-day period, over 65 percent of volunteers actually expressed the desire to assist for 11 days or more.

▼ It would have been interesting to see the local to foreigner ratio for that, too.

Toshiro Muto, secretary-general of the Organizing Committee, remarked that “there was a surprising amount of people who wished to volunteer for longer periods.”

On another note, Tokyo itself is hoping to recruit a separate group of 20,000 people to assist in activities within the city that will complement the Olympic Games volunteers, but so far has only gathered 15,180 people. Authorities will be taking steps to push back Tokyo’s initial recruitment deadline of 5 December to 21 December to ensure that number is achieved.

The unusually strict volunteer requirements may have excluded a proportion of Japanese people, but we are glad there are many noble souls from other countries who are willing to step up and cover for them. May the Olympic spirit burn bright in everyone’s hearts!

Source: Yahoo! Japan, Olympic.org via My Game News Flash
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