Tokyo unveils official mascots for 2020 Olympics, Paralympics

TOKYO -- The official mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled at a ceremony in downtown Tokyo on Sunday.

The mascot for the Olympics is named Miraitowa, and the Paralympic mascot is Someity.

Miraitowa is a combination of the Japanese words for future and eternity; Someity comes from a popular cherry blossom variety "Someiyoshino" and echoes the English phrase "so mighty."

The two mascot designs were selected by elementary schoolchildren across Japan.

"These mascots are your friends," Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said at the ceremony. "You have helped to pick them, and across the country, I believe, five million children helped to pick this. And the name is also something we have picked together. So this Olympics belongs to everyone."

The selection process involving schoolchildren was introduced to get students enthusiastic about the games while also ensuring transparency.

Organizers say the pair of futuristic characters combine tradition and innovation. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020.

"I think a very worthy name has been picked not only for Tokyo but for Japan as well as the Olympics and Paralympics," Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said.