Organizer, IOC trying to clear doubts on Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers are trying to convince the public that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will take place next year despite the COVID-19 epidemic.

Toshiro Muto, CEO of Tokyo’s organizing committee, said last week that the games could proceed without a vaccine. IOC member John Coats, who oversees the Tokyo Olympics this week, said these would be sports despite the epidemic.

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Coates is scheduled to appear in a virtual meeting with the IOC Executive Board on Wednesday. He is expected to give an upbeat assessment of Tokyo’s prospects.

Several recent opinion polls have raised doubts from the Japanese public and business community that sports can – or should – run.

“We can tell you that the IOC is fully committed to celebrating the 32nd Olympiad game next year in Tokyo,” Masaka, a spokesman for the organizing committee, said on Tuesday. “We have started taking concrete steps.”

City, government and Tokyo Olympic officials gathered for the first time in a string of meetings last week to plan a counter-protest against COVID-19.

Plans will be made to deal with potential quarantines to panels, athletes to meet in Japan, COVID-19 tests, safeguarding places, athletes’ villages and anti-virus measures on immigration issues. They will also consider whether fans will be allowed, and if non-Japanese fans will be among them.

The IOC and local organizers have been saying since the postponement five months ago that the games will open on July 23, 2021. They were adopting the same method in March, weeks before the Olympics began.

The organizers and the IOC have given some details of how 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians will be safe in Tokyo, along with thousands of staff members and sports and technical officials.

Details are not expected in a later year or until early 2021.

Organizers have not yet said what a one-year moratorium will cost or who will pay – with estimates in the billions of dollars. The University of Oxford is releasing a study this week that suggests the Tokyo Olympics are among the most expensive in history, examining records since the 1960s.