Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto and Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto chat earlier than the beginning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics govt board assembly in Tokyo, Japan June 8, 2021. Behrouz Mehri/Pool through REUTERS
June 8, 2021
By Rocky Swift and Sakura Murakami
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s 2020 Olympics committee could search additional vaccine donations to make the rescheduled Video games as secure as attainable, Tokyo 2020’s CEO mentioned after a board assembly on Tuesday, stressing that there had been no speak of additional delays.
The Olympics have already been postponed by a 12 months amid world considerations over how organisers can maintain volunteers, athletes, officers and the Japanese public secure after they start on July 23 after a fourth wave of infections.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto flatly denied there had been any speak of a cancellation or additional postponement on the govt board assembly.
“There was no speak on that in any way,” he advised reporters.
As an alternative, he spoke of probably in search of additional vaccine photographs, including that “there may be an ongoing dialogue on whether or not we ought to be vaccinating Olympic-related workers extra extensively”.
Most individuals in Japan oppose holding the Video games in any respect, a number of polls have proven, and a prime Japanese virologist and authorities adviser was quoted on Tuesday as saying it was inconceivable to have a risk-free Video games.
Tohoku College professor Hitoshi Oshitani was an architect of Japan’s “Three Cs” method to the pandemic, which advises avoiding closed areas, crowds and shut contact.
“It’s 100 per cent inconceivable to have an Olympics with zero threat…of the unfold of an infection in Japan and in addition in different international locations after the Olympics,” the London Occasions quoted Oshitani as saying.
“There are a selection of nations that should not have many instances, and a quantity that don’t have any variants. We must always not make the Olympics (an event) to unfold the virus to those international locations,” he added, noting most international locations lack vaccines.
Nonetheless, a former Olympian turned public well being professional mentioned she believed the Video games might be pulled off with a suitable degree of threat.
“There will likely be instances, however having one case or a few instances doesn’t imply that it was a failure,” Tara Kirk Promote, a professor on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, advised Reuters on Tuesday.
Playbooks from occasion organisers detailing testing regimes and motion restrictions for athletes and different guests “define a great technique” for minimising contagion, Promote added.
PRAYING FOR SAFE GAMES
Media arriving from overseas to cowl the Video games will likely be carefully monitored to make sure they don’t depart pre-registered areas equivalent to resorts and sports activities venues, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto mentioned. She additionally mentioned Japan’s Olympics-related workers had been anticipated to start out getting vaccinated in mid-June.
“… we’re nonetheless in a really tough scenario, however we’ve seen a gradual lower of infections in Tokyo, and I’m praying that the pandemic is introduced underneath management as swiftly as attainable,” Hashimoto mentioned firstly of the Tokyo 2020 board assembly.
Japan has been spared the explosive outbreaks seen elsewhere however has recorded over 760,000 instances and greater than 13,600 deaths. Tokyo and different areas are underneath a state of emergency because the nation battles a fourth wave which is straining hospitals.
The federal government’s prime medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, mentioned final week medical specialists deliberate a press release on the Video games by June 20, when the state of emergency is ready to be lifted.
A labour union within the northern island of Hokkaido, the place the Olympic marathon will likely be held, petitioned its governor on Monday calling for the Video games to be cancelled, media mentioned.
Japanese Olympic Committee board member Kaori Yamaguchi, a judo bronze medallist on the 1988 Video games, mentioned on Friday Japan had been “cornered” into urgent forward with the Video games.
Japan’s public stays divided about holding the Video games, though opposition seems to be easing considerably. A ballot by broadcaster TBS this week confirmed 55% wished the Video games both postponed or cancelled – down 10 factors from final month.
Promote, a silver medallist swimmer on the 2004 Video games in Athens, mentioned accelerating vaccinations and ebbing case numbers in Japan had been constructive indicators the Olympics can go forward.
“These Video games are very a lot a logo of the entire world rising from this horrible, world pandemic,” she mentioned.
“If we wished to be as secure as attainable, we’d by no means depart our home.”
(Reporting by Linda Sieg, Rocky Swift and Sakura Murakami; Writing by Linda Sieg and Nick Macfie; Modifying by Lincoln Feast & Shri Navaratnam)