Photo/IllutrationTaxis wait for fares outside ministries in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district on Jan. 11. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Ministry employees, including high-level officials, will be downsizing their regular commuting routine as a gesture to reduce congestion during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Under a trial run starting July 22, about 200 executive officials, such as administrative vice ministers, will be encouraged to use public transportation and refrain from traveling for inspection tours and meetings.

The summer trial was decided at an April 17 meeting involving business organizations to promote smooth transportation during the Games. The area inside the circular zone created by the Metropolitan Intercity Expressway is the target area.

In addition to having regular ministry employees limit their use of official vehicles and taxis, the government will also promote telework and staggered commute times for about 20,000 employees of central ministries by early August.

The telecommuting trial will target not only central ministries, but also local ministry branches in areas around Tokyo, and will run from July 22 to Aug. 2.

For both trials, ministers, other political appointees and employees in charge of risk management and disaster prevention will be exempted.

If the measures are deemed to be worthwhile, they will be introduced during the Olympic period.

The Tokyo Olympics will take place July 24 to Aug. 9, while the Paralympics will be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.