Tokyo 2020: Olympics will go ahead even if the host city is still in a state of emergency - IOC member
IOC vice-president John Coates says test events have proved that competition can go ahead, even if Tokyo fails to lift its state of emergency before the Games begin on June 23. The Australian said the World Health Organisation is satisfied with the measures outlined in the so-called ‘playbook’ and thinks public opinion will change once more of the Japanese public have a vaccine.
A man in a face mask walks past the Tokyo 2020 logo
An International Olympic Committee member says the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will “absolutely” go ahead even if the host city remains in a state of coronavirus emergency by the opening ceremony on July 24.
Japan’s capital is subject to strict measures to combat Covid-19 until at least the end of the month.
But IOC vice-president John Coates pointed to the success of test events as evidence that the Games can take place safely, whether or not spectators are able to attend venues. He also expects public opinion about whether the event should take place to improve as the number of people vaccinated goes up.
"We've successfully seen five sports hold their test events during the state of emergency," said Coates at a Tokyo 2020 briefing.
"All of the plans that we have in place to protect the safety and security of athletes and the people of Japan are based around the worst possible circumstances, so the answer (as to whether the Games will go ahead in a state of emergency) is absolutely yes.
The advice we have got from the World Health Organisation and all of the scientific advice is that all the measures we have outlined in the playbook, all those measures are satisfactory to ensure a safe and secure Games in terms of health, and that's whether there is a state of emergency or not.
Coates also said he is not concerned about a number of polls in Japan which appear to show support for the Games to be cancelled.
"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," he said.
"I'm expecting that as the number of vaccinations increase that there will be better polls and public opinion will improve, but if it doesn't we just have to make sure that we get on with our job and our job is make sure these Games are safe for all participants and all of the people of Japan."
Athletes will be tested daily once they arrive in Japan, while those travelling from overseas will need to return two negative tests before flying.