The unveiling of the emblems took place in a ceremony in Tokyo ©Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 has unveiled special wooden emblems as part of its "Operation BATON" sustainability programme.

Timber used in the emblems was donated by municipalities across Japan in support of Operation BATON - which stands for "Building Athletes' Village with Timber Of the Nation".

The aim of the project is to construct the buildings in the Village Plaza of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games using material from sustainable sources.

The wood comes from various types of trees such as the sugi, the Japanese cedar, karamatsu, the Japanese larch, and hinoki, the Japanese cypress.

These are commonly used in the construction of houses in Japan.

Today's unveiling of the emblems and the launch of Operation BATON in Japan's capital saw Tokyo 2020 staff joined by representatives of the participating municipalities.

Tokyo 2020 vice-president Toshiaki Endo said: "Engaging the whole country and prioritising environmental sustainability is a core pledge of the Tokyo 2020 Games. 

"The BATON project is based on these principles, and is the first initiative of the kind in the history of Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Emblems, made from Japanese timber, are part of the Tokyo 2020 Operation BATON project ©Tokyo 2020
Emblems, made from Japanese timber, are part of the Tokyo 2020 Operation BATON project ©Tokyo 2020

Hajime Furuta, Governor of Gifu prefecture, one of the contributing municipalities, added: "From Gifu prefecture, where 81 per cent of the land is covered with forest, we will donate cedar and cypress wood. 

"To use a Japanese expression, I feel honoured and thrilled to literally 'stand on a cypress stage' - meaning to stand on a big stage. 

"Gifu prefecture looks forward to contributing to the success of the Games."

The 2020 Olympics are due take place from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics following between August 25 and September 6.

The Governor of Shizuoka, Heita Kawakatsu, also expressed his pride at being involved with two thirds of the prefecture covered in forest. 

"We will donate hinoki from the foothills of Mount Fuji and other kinds of timber from the Minami Alps, the Tenryu Birin Forest and the Izu Peninsula," he said. 

"People in Shizuoka have cultivated beautiful forests for many generations, and we are now pursuing various initiatives to ensure Shizuoka City remains the 'Mori no Miyako' - the forest capital."

Shuji Oki, deputy director general of Japan's Forestry Agency, added: "I am glad that we will have an opportunity to showcase our nation's traditional wood resources in this way, and I hope that locally-sourced timber wood supplies will be used more widely, not only at the New National Stadium and the Athletes' Village Plaza, but also at other future projects throughout the nation. 

"I am looking forward to the success of the BATON project."