Japanese organizers plough on with Olympic preparations amid pandemic

Tokyo Olympics

dpa/GNA – Organizers in Japan are ignoring doubts and criticism to focus fully on planning the 2020 Olympic Games delayed to this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are going solidly forwards,” organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori said Thursday after a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

In February there will be meeting involving national and local governments, organizers and Bach, said Mori, to discuss progress. A fixed date for the meeting is to be decided.

Bach, said Mori, offered “great support” for the Games going ahead from July 23.

Speaking after Wednesday’s IOC executive board meeting, Bach insisted: “we are fully committed to a successful and safe delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“It is tough fight but we are fighting this fight for and like Olympic athletes.”

A handbook should soon be published to detail the hygiene arrangements for the Games and it remains open whether fans will be allowed to watch events. Moro said “all options” were currently being considered.

Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the local organizing committee, again said a vaccination against the coronavirus was not a condition for holding the Games.

Recent surveys on behalf of the Kyodo News Agency show the majority of the Japanese people do not believe the Games should take place this summer.

A further postponement has already been ruled out and Bach has also dismissed suggestions to move the Games elsewhere or award Tokyo the 2032 edition – after 2024 in Paris and 2028 in Los Angeles.

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