5 things to know about the next Olympics in Tokyo

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2008, file photo, players from Australia, USA and Japan pose with softballs spelling out 2016, the year they hope softball will return to the Olympics, after Japan beat the USA in the gold medal softball game in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The countdown to the 2020 Olympics began Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, with the arrival of the Olympic flag in Tokyo from Rio de Janeiro. Softball and baseball are returning for the first time since 2008. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
FILE - In this April 25, 2016, file photo, Tokyo 2020 Emblems Selection Committee Chairperson Ryohei Miyata, right, and its member and Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh hold new official logos of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, left, and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games during the unveiling ceremony in Tokyo. A ring of interconnected indigo blue rectangular shapes is the new symbol of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
FILE - In this July 17, 2016, file photo, shoppers talk to SoftBank Corp.'s companion robot Pepper, equipped with a "heart" designed to not only recognize human emotions but react with simulations of anger, joy and irritation, at a store in Tokyo. Already one of the most futuristic and sophisticated cities in the world, Tokyo will use the 2020 Games to showcase more cutting edge technology. Robots, instant language translation, self-driving vehicles and high-definition 8K TV are all expected to be part of the Tokyo Olympics. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
FILE - In this July 12, 2016 file photo, Nissan Motor Co. Deputy General Manager Atsushi Iwaki gets his hands off of the steering wheel of a self-driving new Serena minivan during a test drive at Nissan test course in Yokosuka, near Tokyo. Already one of the most futuristic and sophisticated cities in the world, Tokyo will use the 2020 Olympic Games to showcase more cutting edge technology. Robots, instant language translation, self-driving vehicles and high-definition 8K TV are all expected to be part of the Tokyo Olympics. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2014, file photo, a Shinkansen bullet train heads for Tokyo Station on the Tokaido Main Line in Tokyo. The countdown to the 2020 Olympics began Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, with the arrival of the Olympic flag in Tokyo from Rio de Janeiro. When Tokyo hosted the Summer Games in 1964 they were a symbol of Japan's recovery from World War II. The shinkansen bullet train began service in '64 in time for the Games and become a symbol of Japan's technological prowess. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 1964, file photo, five interlocking Olympic rings is thrown high in the sky by jet planes drift over the stadium during the opening ceremonies for the 1964 Olympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo. The countdown to the 2020 Olympics began Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, with the arrival of the Olympic flag in Tokyo from Rio de Janeiro. When Tokyo hosted the Summer Games in 1964 they were a symbol of Japan's recovery from World War II. (AP Photo/File)
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike waves the Olympic flag upon arrival of the flag at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The countdown to the 2020 Olympics began Wednesday with the arrival of the Olympic flag in Tokyo from Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO — The countdown to the 2020 Olympics began Wednesday with the arrival of the Olympic flag in Tokyo from Rio de Janeiro. The contrast between the two host cities couldn't be starker. Instead of samba in the streets, there will be robots and self-driving cars. Five things to know about the next Summer Games:

HIGH-TECH OLYMPICS

When Tokyo first hosted the Olympics in 1964, the games symbolized Japan's recovery from the devastation of World War II and return to the international community. The high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train service, launched the same year, became a symbol of Japan's technological prowess.

Half a century later, Tokyo is one of the most futuristic cities in the world, from its smart-card train systems that run like clockwork to electronic toilets with heated seats that baffle some first-time visitors ("How do I flush this thing?").

Japan plans to use the 2020 Games to showcase more cutting-edge technology, with robots, instant language translation, self-driving vehicles and high-definition 8K TV all on display.

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GETTING AROUND

The Tokyo Games won't be as compact as promised. While original plans called for all venues to be within an eight-kilometer (five-mile) radius of the Olympic Village, that won't be the case.

In an effort to cut costs, several events such as basketball, cycling and taekwondo have been moved to existing facilities outside of Tokyo instead of building new ones.

Tokyo's network of crisscrossing subway and commuter train lines will help. The challenge will be helping visitors navigate a system that is so extensive, it can be confusing.

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NEW SPORTS

The games will have a different look from a sporting perspective.

Baseball and softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing have all been added to the program.

Baseball and softball, which are returning for the first time since 2008, and karate are popular in Japan.

Surfing, skateboarding and sports climbing have been added in a bid to appeal to a younger generation of athletes and fans.

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SCANDALS

Every Olympics seems to have its scandals, and Tokyo is no exception.

Work on a new main stadium has fallen behind schedule, because the government abandoned the original design due to spiraling costs. The original logo for the games, unveiled with much fanfare, was scrapped over accusations of plagiarism.

The shifting of some events from new to existing venues has saved 200 billion yen ($2 billion), but overall costs are still expected to far exceed initial estimates.

The Tokyo organizing committee has admitted that the operating costs for the Games will be considerably higher than the $3 billion forecast in its bid, but it hasn't disclosed a new estimate.

That doesn't include the cost of building new sports venues and other Games-related infrastructure.

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EARTHQUAKES

Then there are the forces that are beyond anyone's control.

Tokyo is regularly shaken by moderate earthquakes. They rarely cause any damage in a city where buildings are designed to withstand the shock, but experts warn that a major earthquake could happen anytime.

The coast of northeastern Japan was devastated in 2011 when an offshore magnitude 9.0 earthquake spawned a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people and triggered meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Tokyo hasn't had a massive earthquake in nearly a century, since a magnitude 7.9 quake and subsequent fires killed 140,000 people in 1923, so it may be overdue, although the timing of earthquakes is unpredictable.

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