Athletes Village could be the real-life setting for a disaster film right now.

After being postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is now due to begin in just over 120 days, with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for 23 July.

As the countdown to the Games continues in earnest, the Torch Relay is about to commence on 25 March–despite controversial withdrawals by runners and volunteers–and with senior officials stepping down due to inappropriate remarks, there’s been a lot of recent chatter around the Olympics. However, there’s one place that’s been eerily devoid of chatter: the Athletes Village.

Had the Olympics gone ahead as scheduled, the Village would be a hive of activity right now, with apartments being refurbished for future residents to move into from 2023. 

▼ The Olympic Village/Paralympic Village is located on the Harumi waterfront, a manmade island in Tokyo Bay.

However, the 13-hectare waterside location looks like an abandoned ghost town right now, with photos like these, taken by Twitter user @kyon090979, showing the complexes in the village looking shiny and brand new, but missing one vital thing…signs of life.

Images: Twitter/@kyon090979

Approximately 30,000 athletes and coaches are expected to reside at the village throughout the Games. Right now, though, the empty grounds and gates make it look like an abandoned complex.

▼ These photos, taken by @liner104, show “Do Not Enter” signs posted on fences all around the perimeter.

Images: Twitter/@liner104

When the sun dips, the compound looks even more imposing and off-limits, with people online likening it to a real-life setting for a video game or disaster film. The unsettling atmosphere has been attracting photographers like @SOC30kibf, who’ve managed to get up close to the site to give us an idea of what it feels like to be there right now.

Images: Twitter/@SOC30kibf

As debate swirls around whether or not the Olympics should be held at all, these images give us a glimmer into the amount of new construction undertaken by Tokyo in the lead-up to the Games.

▼ These photos from @pousanpoposan show the enormous scale of the complex, which has incurred extra costs for maintenance during the one-year postponement.

The newly built apartment complexes have been designed to provide residents with expansive waterside views of Tokyo, including a vista of the nearby Rainbow Bridge.

Images: Twitter/@pousanpoposan

As this photo from Twitter user @871NSR shows, the Olympic Village is located on prime real estate, and consists of 5,600 units spread across 23 high-rise buildings.

▼ The waterfront apartments will be refurbished after the Olympics, when the complex will become known as “Harumi Flag“.

Image: Twitter/@871NSR

The postponement of the Olympics hasn’t just thrown a spanner into the works for those directly involved in the Games, as future residents now have to wait to find out if their scheduled March 2023 move-in date will need to be pushed back as well. According to buyers, contracts state they must accept a handover delay in the case of unforeseeable reasons out of the seller’s control.

Around 12,000 people are expected to reside here after the Olympics, and over 2,000 applications were submitted for 940 apartments when they were put up for sale last July.

▼ The complex will include parks, commercial facilities and schools.

Images: Twitter/@zuttappk

As these photos show, the complexes combine modern design with traditional Japanese elements, like bamboo features.

Images: Twitter/@zuttappk

While there’s likely to be a delay for the handover of the newly refurbished apartments after the conclusion of the Games, it will have to serve its purpose as the Athletes Village first before any residents are able to move in.

With the government’s recent announcement that the Games will be held without international visitors, who will be barred from entering the country during the Olympics, it looks certain that the Games will go on, despite the ongoing pandemic. And while it will be a very different type of Olympics for the athletes, the Village is here ready to welcome them, albeit with new guidelines advising them to arrive five days prior to the start of their competition and leave a maximum of 48 hours after participating.

That means the Village will likely remain a ghost town for the next few months, before exploding into life with the arrival of 206 visiting National Olympic Committees from around the world. And with a special health facility due to be set up on the grounds to prevent coronavirus clusters from spreading amongst the competitors, here’s hoping the Village gets good reviews from its very first residents. Because with all the negative news surrounding the Games at the moment, we could all do with some good news.

Source: Hachima KikouJapan Property Central, International Olympic Committee 
Top image: Twitter/@SOC30kibf
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