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.”
Suga’s statements came on the same day that representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met with Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis regarding the possibility of Florida taking over as hosts of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Patronis said last Friday, “I know the Olympics want Japan. I’m just concerned Japan doesn’t want the Olympics,” citing two recent polls conducted in early January by Japanese news agency Kyodo and the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) pointing to 80% of Japanese citizens saying they do not want the Olympics to move forward.
IOC Vice President John Coates of Australia also voiced his view on the holding of the Games amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking with Sky News Australia last week, Coates brought up what steps have been discussed to help mitigate the virus with a Games proceeding on schedule.
“We’re planning on the basis that it will take place without a vaccine. We have planned something like 40-odd countermeasures and we’ll just decide which ones we need from our ‘tool kit’ as it were. We will be releasing next week a series of we call them, ‘playbooks’ – 20 pages – which say for the athletes on the Australian team, we’ll give them instruction on what is required from them before they go to the Games, to use that as an example.”
Coates got specific on the testing for incoming athletes entering Japan, They must undertake testing – saliva and nose – within 72 hours of traveling to Tokyo, like we’ve now introduced in Australia for people coming here. They’ll be tested on arrival. Then they’ll be tested, if they continue to be negative, every four days.”
Coates noted there will be no quarantine required. “They will be limited just to the Olympic Village and the transport to their venue for competition and training. That’s it. No going downtown. We’ll have lockdown, virtually.”
The decision on whether or not spectators will be allowed to attend the Games will be made in the April or May timeframe.