Tokyo state of emergency will not prevent Olympic Games, says IOC member
The Olympic Games will continue even if Tokyo remains in a state of emergency, according to a senior official of the International Olympic Committee.
The Japanese capital is one of Japan’s nine prefectures under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic until May 31 at the earliest.
However, the chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates, is convinced that even if these measures were not lifted before the opening of the Games on July 23, it will not affect the organized event.
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“We have seen five sports successfully hold their test events during the state of emergency,” he said at a Tokyo 2020 briefing on Friday.
“All the plans we have in place to protect the safety and security of the athletes and the Japanese people are based on the worst possible circumstances, so the answer (to find out if a Games could take place during a state of emergency) is absolutely yes.
“The advice we have received from the World Health Organization and all the scientific advice is that all the measures that we have outlined in the manual, all of these measures are satisfactory to ensure a safe and secure Games in terms of health. , and that is whether there is a state of emergency or not. “
Coates was asked about a series of negative opinion polls among Japanese residents, many of whom are still calling for the Games to be canceled amid the global health crisis.
“There may well be a correlation between some of these percentages and the low percentages so far of people in Japan who have been vaccinated,” the Australian said.
“I expect that as the number of vaccinations increases there will be better polls and public opinion will improve, but if not then we just have to ensure that we continue our work and our job is to make sure that these games are safe for all participants and all Japanese people. “
The final coordination commission ended on Friday, and Coates said: “After nearly eight years (of planning), the finish line is within reach.
“This is a testament to the work of the Tokyo 2020 organizers and the incredible support of the Japanese government.”
The government has called on the organizers of the Games to further reduce the number of foreign visitors to Japan, insisting that only those essential to the operation of the event enter the country.
Foreign spectators have already been banned and a decision on how many – if any – Japanese fans can attend will be made next month.
The IOC is confident that more than 80% of residents of the Olympic Village will have been vaccinated by the time they arrive in Japan, but Coates insisted that daily athlete screening plans would remain in place regardless of the vaccination schedule. .
Athletes and other participants are all expected to abide by the “playbooks” that govern almost every aspect of their lives when in Tokyo for the Games.