Despite reports, rumors and speculation to the contrary, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated once again last week that his nation’s intention is to indeed move forward with hosting the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Speaking to the World Economic Forum via teleconference last Friday, Suga stated, “We are holding the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. I am determined to achieve the games as a proof of human victory against the pandemic, a symbol of global solidarity and to give hope and courage around the world.”
Backing up this statement is the fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (Tokyo 2020) today published the first Playbook for member federations.
The playbook is designed as a resource specifying the personal responsibilities key stakeholders must take on to ensure a safe Games in Tokyo.
Per the IOC, ‘the series of Playbooks provide a framework of basic principles that each key stakeholder group will follow before they travel to Japan, when entering Japan, during their time at the Games and when leaving the Games. They will provide direction and set parameters that will enable people and organisations to advance their planning at this stage.’
This playbook #1 is aimed at International Federations and Technical Officials, while the editions for athletes, media, and broadcasters are expected to come in the next few days.
Information concerning time in the Olympic and Paralympic Village, the amount of socializing permitted outside the village, as well as movement between venues, and more coronavirus-related topics are expected to be included for athletes.
As for this Playbook #1, there is specific language surrounding requirements for entering Japan, including providing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and being ready to take an additional test upon arrival.
There are also graphical depictions regarding contact tracing:
Basic interaction guidelines are also included:
Speaking about the publication of the Playbooks, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said: “The health and safety of everyone at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are our top priority. We each have our part to play. That’s why these Playbooks have been created – with the rules that will make each and every one of us a sound, safe and active contributor to the Games. We know these Olympic Games will be different in a number of ways.
“For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding. We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet; an update will be published in the spring and may change as necessary even closer to the Games. We will make sure all the information needed is shared as quickly as possible to ensure we are fully prepared to protect all those coming to and residing in Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
He continued: “By committing to following the Playbooks we will be stronger together. In return, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be remembered as a historic moment for humanity, the Olympic Movement and all those contributing to their success.”
Craig Spence, the IPC’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer, said: “To ensure safe and successful Games this summer, every single stakeholder involved in, or attending the Games has a key role to play. Central to this are the Playbooks that form an integral part of a new and robust masterplan developed over the last 12 months to protect every Games stakeholder and, importantly, the people of Japan during Tokyo 2020.
“Since March 2020’s postponement we know much more about COVID-19, while the thousands of international sports events that have taken place safely over the last year have given us valuable learning experiences. Combining this new knowledge with existing know-how has enabled us to develop these Playbooks, which will be updated with greater detail ahead of the Games.”
Tokyo 2020 Games Delivery Officer Nakamura Hidemasa commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the daily lives of people around the world, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games need to adapt accordingly. Safety and security have become everyone’s top priority, and this summer’s Games will be no different. Accordingly, Tokyo 2020, the IOC and the IPC have jointly published individual Playbooks for each stakeholder outlining the rules that need to be followed by all Games participants.
“The Playbooks were created from the perspective of the participants themselves, based on the interim summary that was published at the Coordination Meeting for COVID-19 countermeasures last December. They include not only the specific measures that need to be taken, but also details of the rules that need to be observed and the appointment of a single person to oversee COVID-19 countermeasures in each stakeholder group to ensure effectiveness. The purpose of this first edition is to communicate ‘what we know at this time’ to a large number of people in an easy-to-understand manner. The Playbooks will be updated to the second edition this spring as the situation changes.
“Through careful communication we would like to ensure that everyone involved in the Games around the world is aware of our plans. We hope thereby to assure them that, if each and every one of them follows the rules when participating in the Games, they can be held in a safe and secure manner. We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we would like to express our gratitude to the medical professionals, essential workers and everyone else who is working hard to ensure this. In the meantime, we will continue our preparations for ensuring safe and secure Games in the spirit of safety will be the number-one priority for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”