Tokyo Olympics will go ahead as planned, organizers say

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Despite the pandemic, the public opposition and without mass vaccination, Tokyo Olympics organizers affirm the public that the Games “will take place this summer.” 

Masa Takaya, a spokesperson for the Tokyo Organizing committee said: “Our position remains – we will deliver the Games.”

He told BBC Scotland’s The Nine that the Games will take place without the athletes, judges, referees or even the viewers needing to vaccinate. However, the number of spectators allowed inside the venues is to be decided in March. 

Takaya said: “We are not willing to see the Games taking place behind closed doors. We obviously want to see as many spectators as possible inside the venues.

“We will see in spring how we can accommodate spectators inside the venues. We also have to see what guidance we get from the government regarding spectators and look at the situation around sports, both internationally and nationally.”

Takaya also addressed the recent Kyodo News’ poll which suggests that 80 per cent of the locals want the Games to be cancelled or postponed, calling it just another survey. 

He stated: “Most recent surveys show people want the Games to be re-postponed, but in that trend, we see that people are willing to see the Games go ahead in some form, which is why we want to keep conveying how we are able organise the Games in this situation.”

On the topic of vaccination, Takaya said the Games could be delivered without mass vaccination, pointing out that “lots of sporting events are taking place in Japan” without one. 

Credit: Reuters Photo

Keith Miller, the former deputy chairman of the 2012 London Olympic organising committee commented, he would be preparing for a cancellation if he was in charge of the Tokyo Games. 

He said for BBC radio: “If the organisers in Tokyo really believe they can run a successful Olympic Games with sufficient athletes and countries competing in a safe environment, I think they should go ahead and do it.

“If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, and thankfully I’m not, I would be making plans for a cancellation.

“I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation, but I think they will leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically.”

“It’s a tough call and I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes.”

Even though the rapid rising levels of Covid cases in Tokyo have put the Olympics in jeopardy and Tokyo announced a state of emergency, Japan’s government is determined to go ahead with the preparations. 

On Monday, Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to get the pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympics Games this summer. 

He stated: “In order to restore sense of safety, I will get the coronavirus pandemic, which has raged worldwide and is now severely affecting Japan, under control as soon as possible. I will stand at the frontline of the battle while I get the people’s co-operation.”

He said: “We will have full anti-infection measures in place and proceed with preparation with a determination to achieve the Games that can deliver hope and courage throughout the world.” 

He pledged to go ahead with the Olympics as “a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.”

Feature image: ABC News

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Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Sports editor @ Brig Newspaper. Bylines in Edinburgh Evening Times and the SPA National Magazine.

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