After a year's postponement and the pandemic causing the games to be closed to spectators, many volunteers were not needed or were not able to volunteer. As a result there are uniforms for 28,000 volunteers that remain unused.
Municipalities across the country are now wondering what to do with these uniforms, that were paid for with tax payer money. More than 1.7 billion yen was spent on volunteer uniforms for the 2020 Games. Depending on what items are included, the cost of one uniform set was between 22,000 and 40,000 yen. Some uniforms are being stored in private warehouses at additional costs.
Because the uniforms have the official Olympic emblems on them, there are strict rules about how they can be used. No one seems to want to make the final decision on what to do with them.
Sapporo, which was the location of the marathon and race walking events donated approximately 100 uniforms to schools for the visually impaired for use in goalball events, which is a sport played by people with visual impairments.
Yuji Nakamura, professor at Utsunomiya University with expertise in sports administration said it is important to be transparent in how the uniforms are used. In the meantime, they are sitting in warehouses.