Tokyo 2020 has reportedly decided the Parade of Nations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be determined using Japanese language names and the country’s phonetic order.

Tokyo 2020 has reportedly decided the Parade of Nations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be determined using Japanese language names and the country’s phonetic order.

Kyodo News reported that the Organising Committee hope the move will place the Japanese language in the spotlight and promote the country’s culture.

Should the move be confirmed, it would differ from previous Olympic Games in Japan.

Tokyo 1964 used the English alphabetical order with the aim of highlighting international understanding.

This saw Greece march first before the first nation alphabetically, Afghanistan.

Greece always opens the parade as the country is the birthplace of the Modern Olympic Games.

Had Japanese characters been used, Iceland and Ireland would have followed Greece in the Parade of Nations.

The Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics also used English characters.

Kyodo News reported that Japanese athletes’ names written in the Roman alphabet will appear in television broadcasts with their surname first.


This is the same order used when names are written in Japanese.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board approved changes to the running order at future Opening Ceremonies last December.

The Refugee Olympic team, due to make its second Olympic appearance at next year’s Games, will march after Greece.

The Refugee Olympic team was second to last in the parade at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Under the new format, the next two hosts of the corresponding Olympic Games – summer or winter – will enter immediately before the host nation, traditionally the final country to be welcomed into the stadium.

As France and America are staging the Summer Games after Tokyo – in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 respectively – the countries will be the last two to march before hosts Japan.

The IOC claimed it had been made to “increase the special focus that future hosts already enjoy over the course of their Games preparations by giving them prominence in the stadium and among global audiences during Opening Ceremonies.”

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