FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

Japan is considering vaccinating some 70,000 Tokyo Games volunteers in an effort to ensure the safety of the sporting event, media reported on Tuesday, citing Minister of Olympic Affairs Tamayo Marukawa.

Last week, the CEO of the organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, said that around 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers, who initially registered through the Tokyo Games organizing committee to assist at venues and the athletes’ village, had backed out, causing a new challenge for the host country. The official cited COVID-19 concerns as a possible reason.

Marukawa told the parliament earlier in the day that officials had agreed to take up the idea of vaccinating the volunteers, according to the Kyodo news agency.

“We would like to consider thoroughly, with other officials concerned, the practical issues regarding what could be done to realize a safe and secure games,” the official said, noting that vaccinating volunteers should not hinder mass-vaccination of Japanese citizens.

Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee, in turn, said that foreign reporters covering the Games would be closely monitored to make sure they do not attend places other than those pre-registered out of precaution. The media representatives will also be banned from staying elsewhere, except for hotels specially designated for their accommodation.

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