The Tokyo 2020 games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, after a historic postponement forced by the global march of the pandemic.
For Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto the games could be held in front of a “limited number of spectators” to prevent the spread of infection.
In an interview with BBC Sports, Muto told that “everyone should focus on holding the event next year – we’re on the same page” regarding to organisers as they are committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of cancelling or postponing it further.
Muto added that International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was “not looking for” a Games held without any fans, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible.
“He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing,” he said.
“We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before / after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans,” Muto added.
The organiser country Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was “too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways.”
With just under a year to go until the postponed Games, majority of Japanese citizens have expressed in two polls in July that the Games should be postponed again or cancelled altogether.
Also, several medical experts have suggested the Games will not be viable without a proven treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Muto said a vaccine would be “a benefit … [but] not a precondition.”
Chairman of the Tokyo Co-ordination Committee John Coates sounded a positive note by saying the Games would go ahead with or without a vaccine.
Organisers were “going ahead on the basis there won’t be a vaccine,” Coates told the Australia newspaper.
I added that they were prepared “under whatever scenario we have to face, which will become clearer at the end of the year.”
International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said that “this milestone of the one year to go is a very significant one, for sport but also for the worldwide society. It can and will be the great comeback festival of sport to the international scene and we are preparing for this in the one year that remains for us to make these Olympic Games a real great festival of hope, of resilience and of solidarity. ”
Japan has so far seen experienced a comparatively small corona virus outbreak, but infections have been on the rise, particularly in the capital.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking to Japan’s Kyodo news agency on Wednesday, warned that “containing the new corona virus inside the capital is a prerequisite” for holding the Games.
Source: Reuters London