Should the Tokyo Olympics be held during the middle of a pandemic?

Should the Tokyo Olympics be held during the middle of a pandemic?

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Madrid eliminated.

I want Istanbul. That would be a beautiful games.

Tokyo would be good too, but a pain to follow. I remember getting up at ridiculous hours to watch the World Cup in Japan. BST you would have things like the rowing at 2 in the morning.
Can't be Tokyo can it due to the nuclear issues still ongoing over Fukushima.
The country providing the best legacy is most likely to get the games. That's the reason London got the games and 'It delivered' the results in terms of creating atmosphere and as it's motto, probably did 'inspire a generation' in terms of getting involved in sport.

What can be looked at is if the benefits are wide spread and long term? That's something which will have influence on this bid as well. It's more than just the games and that's what is most likely to be considered.
Istanbul for the win ...bigger budget ..I guess..maybe.
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Tokyo wins ! The 'safe bid' wins as the Japanese said - I guess after the 2011 tsunami and the horrors their people endured, it is deserved, they have the infrastructure plus those summer protests in Turkey helped their chances.
Re: Who will host the 2020 Olympics ? (Decision at 9pm)

Tokyo got it... People were crying and whet not.
Japan's Olympic minister says the Tokyo 2020 Games could be postponed from the summer until later in the year amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

In a response to a question in Japan's parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo's contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "calls for the Games to be held within 2020".

She added that "could be interpreted as allowing a postponement".

The Games are due to be held from 24 July to 9 August.

"We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned," Hashimoto added.

IOC president Thomas Bach said last week that the organisation is "fully committed" to hosting the event as scheduled.

Under the hosting agreement the right to cancel the Games remains with the IOC.

A number of high-profile sporting events have already been cancelled or postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, including the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Athletics Championships and the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for 19 April.

The coronavirus, which originated in China, has spread to more than 60 countries and claimed more than 3,000 lives so far.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has begun to shift his messaging on the Tokyo Olympics, in a sign he may have accepted that the deadly coronavirus will make it necessary to postpone the event planned to start in July.

Abe and his cabinet, as well as the organizers and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, had until days ago been unanimous in insisting the Games would be staged as scheduled. But, following a G-7 leaders’ video conference on the coronavirus Monday, Abe avoided comment on the timing of the event.

“I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders,” he told reporters after the event.

Sporting events around the globe have been called off, delayed or held without spectators because of the virus, raising questions on whether it would be safe to bring hundreds of thousands of athletes, officials and spectators together in Tokyo. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the Tokyo Olympics should be pushed back a year.

Asked whether the timing of the event was discussed, Abe repeated the same phrases without answering directly. He also used similar words when asked about the issue in parliament Monday.

Abe’s comments come after a poll showed almost two thirds of Japanese voters thought the Olympics should be postponed due to the pandemic. Japan’s prime minister had been closely associated with Tokyo hosting the games -- flying to Buenos Aires in 2013 to make a bid for Japan’s case in person and appearing at the closing ceremonies for the Rio Games four years ago dressed as the Super Mario video game character to promote Tokyo 2020.

“The politics of delaying the games have shifted. In the early days of the crisis, delaying would have been an admission that Abe had failed to manage it. Now that it’s a global crisis, delaying may be what’s necessary to defend the Japanese people,” Tobias Harris, a Japan analyst for Teneo Intelligence in Washington, wrote on Twitter.

Proceed As Planned?
With a growing number of qualifying events already canceled, the summer start date is looking increasingly impracticable. The Tokyo Organizing Committee is asking that spectators stay away from Japan’s torch relay beginning at the end of the month, Kyodo News reported, an event usually expected to drum up excitement for the games.

Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto later denied that Abe’s comments meant any delay to the event.

“Holding it perfectly means preparing properly to hold it as planned, and working together to that end,” she said Tuesday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said there was no change to Japan’s preparations.

The French Olympic committee chief was reported as saying earlier that the virus must be on the wane by late May to allow the Tokyo Games to take place in July.

In response, Hashimoto reiterated that the International Olympic Committee had the authority to make the decision.

“I am aware of various individual opinions, but the government’s position is to provide support in close cooperation with the IOC, the organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government,” she said.

The Olympic Games haven’t been canceled since the summer of 1944, when they were called off due to World War Two.
IOC is 'fully committed' to Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee does not plan any "drastic" decisions about the Tokyo 2020 Games, saying it remains fully committed to the event being staged in four months time despite the global spread of the coronavirus.

The IOC said in a statement, following discussions with international sports federations, that changes would need to be made to the qualifiers due to the impact of the virus but it plans to go ahead with the July 24-August 9 Olympics.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.

"The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can," it said, less than an hour after European soccer body UEFA postponed its 2020 European championship to 2021.

Speculation about whether the Olympics can be held has mounted by the day due to concerns about the virus, which has infected almost 190,000 people and killed over 7500 worldwide, with the epicentre now being Europe.

Sports competitions have come to a halt in many parts of the world, wreaking havoc with Olympic qualifiers across 33 sports. The IOC on Monday scrapped any remaining boxing qualifiers due to the virus.

So far 57 per cent of the 11,000 athletes have already secured their spot.

"For the remaining 43% of places, the IOC will work with the international federations to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020," the Olympic body said.

It said qualification could also be based on ranking or historical results as well.

"The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus."

Earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that the deputy head of Japan's Olympic committee, Kozo Tashima, had tested positive for coronavirus.

The Japan Football Association (JFA), where Tashima, 62, doubles as the chairman, said he had travelled to Britain, the Netherlands and the United States from late February to early March, and was confirmed as positive for the virus.

"I had a small fever and after I've got checked it also looks like I have symptoms of pneumonia, but I'm doing fine," Tashima said through the JFA. He said he would continue treatment at a local health facility.

Japan's Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said the Games would be held on time and with spectators present, but the organisers said the torch relay kick off, slated for Fukushima on March 26, will be held without spectators.

Many other events along the torch relay route have been curtailed or cancelled and spectators have been asked to stay away and not form crowds.

The JFA said it would disinfect its headquarters and investigate where those present at its board meetings have travelled.

It said it would also examine the health of the officials from other sports organisations based in its building.
It is too early to decide whether to cancel the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, says World Athletics chief Lord Coe.

The International Olympic Committee has said the Games could still begin on 24 July despite the coronavirus pandemic causing other events to be cancelled.

Coe told BBC Sport: "Let's not make a precipitous decision when we don't have to four months out."

However, he added: "If you had to ease that date, you'd have to ease it. It is possible. Anything is possible."

Speaking on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, Coe, who was chair of the London 2012 organising committee, also said: "Events are changing by the hour but it is not a decision that has to be made at the moment.

"We're trying to manage the situation with the information we have but there is not a great deal of information.

"The temperature in the room with the IOC is, nobody is saying we're going to the Games come what may."

The IOC says it held "constructive" talks with athlete representatives about the coronavirus crisis earlier this week.

President Thomas Bach admitted he was "confronted with many questions" over qualification and restrictions but insisted that "everybody realised that we still have more than four months to go" until Tokyo 2020.

On Thursday, Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down ceremony in Athens' Panathenaic stadium, site of the first modern Games in Greece in 1896.

The flame was then transferred into a small holder to travel to Japan on a special aircraft named 'Tokyo 2020 Go.'

In a video message Tokyo 2020 organising chief Yoshiro Mori said he hoped the flame's arrival would help "shake off the dark clouds hanging over the world".

When asked about the prospect of pushing the Olympics back a year to 2021, Coe replied: "It seems on the surface an easy proposition but athletics has its worlds on that date, the Euros in football have been moved back a year.

"The sporting calendar is a complicated matrix and it is not easy to move from one year to the next. It would be ridiculous to say anything is ruled out at the moment. The whole world wants clarity; we're no different from any other sector.

"In athletics we've postponed three Diamond League meetings but not all, because we don't have to make that decision. Everybody accepts this is a fast-moving environment. I need to be careful I'm not removing the earning potential from athletes any more than I need to at this moment."

Not 'much of a choice' but to call them off
In contrast to Coe, former Olympic champion rower Sir Matthew Pinsent said he did not see "much of a choice" but to postpone or cancel the Games.

"I just think there are bigger things to worry about at this stage on a global front," Britain's four-time Olympic gold medallist told BBC Radio 4.

"For most of the European countries as well as Asian countries, organised sport in any meaningful way has ceased, and that's from government advice. I don't see there's any way forward for an Olympic athlete to train effectively - even as an individual, but particularly in a team environment.

"Obviously I came from rowing, and rowing squads around Europe and the world are essentially downing tools and going into lockdown as their individual governments are mandating that they should - I just think it's unfair.

"It's unfair for the Olympics to say we're going to carry on. There are the two big forces in an Olympic athlete's life, which is the Olympics and everything else. And those two things are pulling in different directions at this moment."

Asked why he felt the IOC was insisting the Games would go ahead, Pinsent added: "I think they feel a responsibility to Tokyo.

"We know having hosted in 2012 that seven-year build up is a crescendo of energy and concentration and effort on behalf of the city and on behalf of the nation and the government. Everybody takes a pride in it.

"I know that Tokyo have done exactly the same and actually the financial stakes are much higher for the host city than they are for the IOC."

Meanwhile British race walker Tom Bosworth has told BBC Sport that the Olympics should be put back until the autumn.

"It would be a very tough one but in my opinion I think it should be postponed to allow everybody to qualify, to allow the build-up to be correct for what should be a really great and really successful Olympic Games," he said.

"If I'm honest I don't think there is enough time to properly build towards a Games, whether that is build athlete profiles, build the teams, allow people to qualify who haven't qualified. I think for all involved a slight delay is probably the best option."
Stay strong Tokyo, the world will be a much safer place by then InshaAllah
So it'll become an unintentional Winter Olympics??
USA Track and Field, athletics' US governing body, has called for this summer's Olympics in Tokyo to be delayed because of the ongoing coronavirus situation.

The federation has asked the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to advocate to the International Olympic Committee for the postponement of the Games.

It follows a request from USA Swimming for it to be delayed by 12 months.

The Olympics are scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August.

USA Track and Field chief executive Max Siegel wrote in a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee: "We certainly understand the ramifications of this request, and the realities of trying to coordinate the logistics of a postponed Olympic Games around the schedules of other athletes, sport federations, key stakeholders etc.

"But the alternative of moving forward in light of the current global situation would not be in the best interest of our athletes (as difficult as that decision might be)."

There are a growing number of calls for the Games not to take place this summer.

UK Athletics chairman Nic Coward recently suggested that the Olympics should be postponed, while Brazil, Norway and Slovenia's Olympic committees have also urged the IOC to take action and put it back to next year.

Four-time Olympic champion and BBC Sport pundit Michael Johnson fears athletes could "risk their lives" trying to train for the Games and called for clarity on the IOC's decision-making process.

"IOC should communicate the window for deciding on the '20 Olympics," tweeted the former US sprinter. "Athletes must keep training but for many there's nowhere to train.

"They may risk their lives and others trying to continue training. Answer isn't just cancel ASAP. But communicate the process to the athletes."

On Friday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach told the New York Times "different scenarios" for Tokyo 2020 are now being considered for the first time.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The International Olympic Committee is set to confirm it is considering a postponement of Tokyo 2020, and has given itself a deadline of four weeks to make a decision.<br><br>More: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) <a href="">March 22, 2020</a></blockquote>
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What is happening with the Olympics?

This year's Olympics Games have been thrown into doubt because of the coronavirus pandemic, with athletes and officials calling for a decision about Tokyo 2020 to be made quickly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Here are some of the most significant developments:

Canada became the first major nation to withdraw from the Games
Australia's team says it is "clear" the Games cannot go ahead
Poland has also called for the event to be moved because of "increasingly limited training options" for athletes
World Athletics president Lord Coe says the Games must be postponed because they cannot be held "at all costs" and the move is "owed" to the athletes
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has admitted for the first time that the Games could be postponed
The IOC has given itself four weeks to decide on the future of the event.

Options include a delay of several months or - more probably - a year. The IOC says cancellation is "not on the agenda". A "scaled-down" Games will also be considered.

The Olympics are scheduled start in Tokyo on 24 July.
Tokyo 2020: Olympics to be postponed until 2021, says IOC member

The 2020 Olympic Games will be postponed by one year because of coronavirus, says International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.

It comes after the chairman of the British Olympic Association said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer.

Australia and Canada have already said they will not compete in Japan.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA today.

"The parametres going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on 24 July, that much I know."

The International Olympic Committee has given itself four weeks to decide on the future of this summer's Games, but veteran IOC member Pound says a decision will be announced soon.

"It will come in stages," he said.

"We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."
Team USA's Olympic and Paralympic Committee called for the International Olympic Committee Summer Games in Tokyo.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Abe said he has agreed the delay with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach following talks earlier on Tuesday.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan says the IOC's Executive Board will approve the delay this afternoon.
What many already saw as the only option is now official: the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have agreed to a one-year postponement of the event because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had agreed to the delay.

"I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement," Abe said.
The 2020 Olympics were set to run from 24 July to 9 August.

"This is the first time an Olympic Games have been postponed - it has been cancelled in war time, but never postponed," said BBC sports news reporter Alex Capstick.

"At the moment they are saying they want to hold it in the summer of 2021. It is a huge logistical challenge and problem to do that - it is not easy to postpone a Games.

"Is the delay long enough? We just do not know at this stage."
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will run from 23 July to 8 August 2021, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

The Olympics, which had been due to start on 24 July this year, were postponed last week with no new date confirmed at the time.
The Paralympics will start on 24 August and end on 5 September 2021.

Tokyo 2020 will remain the name of the event despite the fact it is happening a year later.
Tokyo Games CEO hints Olympics could be in doubt even in 2021

TOKYO: As the coronavirus spreads in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Games said Friday he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year even with a 16-month delay.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus, putting the country under restrictions after it seemed it had avoided the spread.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter at a news conference conducted remotely. “We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

The Olympics were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on August 24.

Abe has been criticised for being slow to act against the coronavirus. Opposition political leaders have suggested he downplayed the severity of the virus and have said it may have been tied to wanting to hold the Olympics this year.

“We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year,” Muto added. “So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the Games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

Muto was asked if there are alternative plans to 2021.

“Rather than think about alternatives plans, we should put in all of our effort,” he said. “Mankind should bring together all of its technology and wisdom to work hard so they can development tre*a*t*ments, medicines and vaccines.”

Japan has reported about 5,000 cases and 100 deaths. The country has the world’s oldest population, and COVID-19 can be especially serious for the elderly.

Muto was asked several times about the added costs of postponing, which has been estimated by Japanese media at between $2 billion-$6 billion. He said it was too soon to know the price tag and who would pay.

He also acknowledged that Tokyo Olympic organisers had taken out insurance.

“Tokyo 2020 has taken out several insurance policies,” he said. “But whether the postponement of the games qualifies as an event that is covered is not clear yet.”

He was also asked about the Olympic flame, which was taken off public display this week in Fukushima prefecture. Muto had an away-from-the-microphone talk with Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya before talking about the flame.

“After the Olympic torch relay was cancelled, the Olympic flame was put under the management of Tokyo 2020,” Muto said. “Obviously in the future there is a possibility it might be put on display somewhere. However, for now it is under the management of Tokyo 2020 and Im not going to make any further comment on the issue.”

There are suggestions the International Olympic Committee is thinking of taking the flame on a world tour, hoping to use it as a symbol of the battle against the virus. However, any tour would be impossible until travel restrictions are lifted. Taking the flame away from Japan could also upset the hosts.
A Japanese virus expert has warned the Tokyo Olympics might not be able to go ahead even by 2021. The Games were postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Holding the Olympics needs two condition: controlling Covid-19 in Japan and controlling Covid-19 everywhere, because you have to invite the athletes and the audience from all over the world," Kentaro Iwata, a professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University, told journalists.

"Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer, I wish we could, but I don't think that would happen everywhere on earth, so in this regard I'm very pessimistic about holding the Olympics Games next summer."

The decision to postpone the event to next year was controversial and Japan for a long time insisted they would be able to go ahead this summer. Only when several countries' athletics bodies warned they wouldn't participate, Tokyo and the IOC postponed the games.

Source BBC
The head of the Japan Medical Association has added his voice to speculation that the Tokyo Olympics, now due to be held next summer, could again be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Unless an effective vaccine is developed I think it will be difficult to hold the Olympics next year,” JMA president Yoshitake Yokokura told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“I’m not saying at this point that they shouldn’t be held. The outbreak is not only confined to Japan ... it’s a worldwide issue.”

Several health experts have cast doubt on plans to hold the Games next July and August. Last week, Kentaro Iwata, a specialist in infectious diseases, said he thought it “unlikely” that the Games would be held just over a year from now.

“I am very pessimistic about holding the Olympic Games next summer unless you hold the Olympic Games in a totally different structure such as no audience, or a very limited participation,” he said.

Japan’s organisers and the International Olympic Committee [IOC] agreed in March to postpone the Games by a year as the coronavirus spread across the globe. They have since said there is no “Plan B’’ other than working for the Olympics to open on July 23, 2021.

But IOC member John Coates, who is overseeing preparations of the Tokyo Olympics, said this month it was still “too early to say” if the outbreak could further impact the Games.

Soure Guardian
very upset with these pessimistic predictions "too early to say" etc etc. These are the same sceintist who want to shut the world down until a vaccine is found, which by the way, a vaccine has never been found for the SARs virus even after spending millions of $$$.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be 'scrapped' instead of delayed again, says Games chief

The postponed Tokyo Olympics will be "scrapped" if they cannot take place in 2021, says Games chief Yoshiro Mori.

Tokyo 2020 is now scheduled to run from 23 July to 8 August next year after being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health experts have cast doubt on whether the Games could be held next summer without a vaccine or effective drugs to treat Covid-19 being found.

When asked if the event could be moved again to 2022, Mori replied: "No."

"In that case, the Olympics will be scrapped," he added.

However, the Tokyo 2020 president said he was confident the rescheduled Games would go ahead.

"This Olympics would be much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with it after winning this battle," he told Nikkan Sports.

"We have to believe this, otherwise our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded."

The president of Japan's medical association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said on Tuesday it will be "difficult" to hold the Olympics in 2021 without vaccines or effective drugs being developed.

"I am not saying that Japan should or shouldn't host the Olympics, but that it would be difficult to do so," he said.

"If the infections are under control in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world."

Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become available by mid-2021, though others have warned there is no guarantee a vaccine can be successfully developed.

Mori added that the Olympics and Paralympics - which will now run from 24 August to 5 September 2021 - could share opening and closing ceremonies as a way of cutting costs.

"Given that the situation has dramatically changed, we have to review key areas, including the ceremonies," he said.

"It's going to a considerable cut in costs and a big message of victory against the global crisis - but it's not easy."

However, Mori said he had not yet asked the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee whether they would agree to such a plan, and acknowledged that tickets had already been sold for the separate opening and closing ceremonies.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said it will be difficult to host the Olympics next year unless the pandemic is contained.

The Olympics were originally set to be held this year but were postponed until July 2021.

There has been doubt as to whether the games will go ahead.

"We've been saying that the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be held in a complete form, in that athletes and spectators can all participate safely," Abe said.

"It would be impossible to hold the games in such a complete form unless the pandemic is contained."

He added that the Olympics "must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Otherwise it will be hard to hold the games."

On Tuesday Games chief Yoshiro Mori said the Olympics would be "scrapped" if they could not take place in 2021.

Japan has confirmed 13,895 infections and more than 413 deaths.
A senior figure at the International Olympic Committee has reaffirmed that there are no plans to defer the Tokyo Olympics again.

Tokyo 2020 is now scheduled to run from 23 July to 8 August in 2021 after being delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Coates, head of the IOC’s inspectorate, said the Games could end up as the "greatest ever" - citing examples that followed the two world wars of the 20th Century - but followed Tokyo Games' chief Yoshiro Mori in saying that they could not be rescheduled again.

"We're proceeding on the basis that there is no Plan B of deferring the Games again or anything like that,” Coates said.
BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee expects to bear costs of up to $800 million (656.87 million pounds) for its part in the organisation of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, now due to be staged next year, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Thursday.

In March, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government decided to delay the Games, due to start this July, for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We anticipate we will have to bear costs of up to $800 million for our part and responsibilities in the organisation of the postponed Games Tokyo 2020,” Bach told a conference call at the end of the IOC’s executive board meeting.

He said of that amount $650 million would go towards the organisation of the Games next year and $150 million to support international federations and National Olympic Committees.

The figure announced by Bach does not include any costs Tokyo Games organisers and the Japanese government have to incur by the 12-month delay of the world’s biggest multi-sports event.

Bach declined to speculate on a possible new delay if the virus is still a major concern next year.

“We are now working with full engagement for the success of Tokyo 2020 in 2021 and to have these Games in a safe environment for all participants,” he said.

“We are one year and two months away from the opening of these postponed Olympic games. We should not fuel any speculation on any future development.”

Some four million people have been infected and close to 300,000 have died from the disease globally.

More than 90 vaccines are currently being developed globally, with eight in the clinical trial phase. But experts say the process could take years and may not happen at all.
The World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, are holding a press conference.

Bach is stressing the need for sport to play a crucial part in governments’ Covid-19 recovery programmes.

“Sport is not only a very important economic factor, offering millions of jobs, it is also an extremely important social and health factor. The crisis has told us how important health is for the basis of everything we do in society. I’m really calling on governments to honour this and make sport an important part of their programmes.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says he understands why the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games would have to be cancelled if it cannot take place next summer.

Local organisers have said they have no back-up plan after the event was postponed by a year because of the coronavirus crisis.

"You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee," Bach told BBC Sport. "You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty."

In a wide-ranging interview, Bach also:

admitted the job of re-organising the Games was "a mammoth task"
warned that the event would "definitely be different" with a focus on "essentials"
would not be drawn on whether a vaccine for Covid-19 would be needed for the event to take place
insisted staging the Games behind closed doors was "not what we want", but he needs more time to consider whether that was feasible
Bach said he hoped the first ever postponed Games, which are due to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021, could prove "unique" and send "a message of solidarity among the entire world, coming for the first time together again, and celebrating the triumph over coronavirus".

"There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day. It's very challenging and at the same time fascinating."

2020 Olympics will be 'scrapped' instead of delayed again, says Games chief
Will a vaccine be found?
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has admitted it may be "difficult" to stage the Games if the country does not successfully contain the virus, and the head of the Japan Medical Association has suggested it depends on finding a vaccine.

When asked directly if he agreed, Bach said: "For this question, we are relying on the advice of the World Health Organisation.

"We have established one principle: to organise these Games in a safe environment for all the participants. Nobody knows what the world will look like in one year, in two months.

"So we have to rely on [experts] and then take the appropriate decision at the appropriate time based on this advice."

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are due to take place in China just six months after the Tokyo Games, and Bach said that Prime Minister Abe had made it clear to him that, as far as Japan was concerned, next summer was "the last option".

"Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this, because you cannot forever employ 3,000, or 5,000, people in an Organising Committee," said Bach.

"You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.

"You cannot have so much overlapping with a future Olympic Games, so I have some understanding for this approach by our Japanese partners."

When asked how confident he was that the Games would go ahead, Bach said: "We have to be prepared for different scenarios. There is the clear commitment to having these games in July next year.

"At the same time, looking at the scenarios this may require towards the organisation, with regard to health measures, these maybe need quarantine for the athletes, for part of the athletes, for other participants.

"What could this mean for the life in an Olympic Village and so on? All these different scenarios are under consideration and this is why I'm saying it's a mammoth task, because there are so many different options that it's not easy to address them [now]. When we have a clear view on how the world will look on 23 July, 2021, then [we will] take the appropriate decisions."

Could the Games be staged behind closed doors?
Thomas Bach
IOC president Thomas Bach was speaking to the BBC in his first broadcast interview since Tokyo postponement
If social distancing restrictions are still in force in Japan next summer, some have suggested the Games may have to be staged behind closed doors.

Bach said such a scenario remained "speculation".

"This is not what we want," he said. "Because the Olympic spirit is about also uniting the fans and this is what makes the Games so unique that they're in an Olympic Stadium, all the fans from all over the world are together.

"But when it then would come to the decision... I would ask you to give me some more time for consultation with the athletes, with the World Health Organisation, with the Japanese partners."

The IOC has set aside $800m (£654m) to help with the financial impact caused by the postponement of Tokyo 2020. The total additional cost to Japan has been estimated at between two and six billion dollars.

But Bach said there would also have to be cutbacks to the Games.

"They will definitely be different, and they have to be different," he said. "If we all have learned something during this crisis, [it is] to look to the essentials and not so much on the nice-to-have things.

"So this concentration on the essentials should be reflected in the organisation of these Games... there should be no taboo."

Why were the Games not postponed sooner?
Two months ago, Bach faced unprecedented criticism from athletes for not postponing the Games earlier.

"The developments were so fast that you could not know what would happen tomorrow," he said when asked if he would do anything differently now.

'To find the balance between the more optimistic experts, saying, 'wait, you still have time. It's still some months away. Let's see how it goes', and the others saying, 'this will be a total disaster - why don't you take this decision right now?' This was the challenge every day.

"And this had to be done in consultation with our Japanese partners, because we could have cancelled the Games alone, without them, and that would have been an easy decision in one way.

"We could have said, 'OK, this is it.' We would have got our money being paid by insurance. And we could have started to prepare for Paris [2024 Games]. But this was not a real option because this would have deprived the athletes of this unique Olympic experience."

Bach said he was "happy" last weekend to see the Bundesliga resume in his native Germany, even though fans were not present.

"I wish that now all the other sports are coming back," he said. "On the other hand, I was a little bit feeling for the players, how strange it must be for them, playing in these huge stadiums...

"So I hope now that is the first step. Sport has to respect the rules, like any other organisation and area of society. But that slowly, we can come back and then maybe lift these restrictions in a responsible way."

Bach appealed to governments around the world to do what they can to help sports deal with the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

"There is, first of all, the contribution of sport to health, and everybody realises that we must concentrate more on health in in the in the future," he said.

"Secondly, sport makes the great contribution to the inclusivity of society... sport is the best glue for a society.

"And thirdly, sport is also a very important economic factor. We had a study that about 3% of all the jobs being offered in Europe are sports-related.

"And this is why we are urging the governments to honour and to acknowledge the role of sport, and to include them in their recovery programmes."
Japan to explore 'simplified' Olympic Games: Tokyo governor

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday it may be necessary to a stage a "simplified" Olympics next year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and that organisers were already discussing possible changes.

"Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people," Koike told reporters.

Koike's comments come after the Yomiuri newspaper reported that various options, such as mandatory coronavirus testing and having fewer spectators, were being considered by organisers.

John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) inspectorate for Tokyo, has said a lack of a defence against the new coronavirus threatened the games and organisers had to start planning for what could be a "very different" Olympics if there were no signs of COVID-19 being eradicated.
The Tokyo 2020 Games "will take place in 2021 or they won't take place" at all, a top Olympics official has said.

"It's unthinkable to keep such a project on the go for any longer, considering the enormous costs and all the thousands of people involved, " said Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee.

"All the sporting federations have to adapt to the Games' postponement... we can't envisage a similar upheaval a second time," the Belgian told a local newspaper.

His comments echo a recent statement from committee president Thomas Bach, who said the Games would have to be cancelled if they cannot take place next summer.

It comes as Tokyo's governor said the city and organisers were looking at ways to scale back next year's Games.
Tokyo Olympics will be 'simplified'

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said the rearranged Olympics will "not be done with grand splendour", but will be simplified.

The Games, originally scheduled to start next month, were postponed for a year in March because of the pandemic.

Speaking after an executive board meeting for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Muto added that more than 200 areas had been identified "where Olympics simplification was possible" but that "we are not at the stage where we have concrete ideas on how to simplify the Games".
Tokyo Olympic board member would support another delay

An executive board member of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee says another delay should be sought if the games can't be held next year.

The Tokyo Olympics were to be held this year but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The suggestion comes from Haruyuki Takahashi in an interview published in the Japanese sports newspaper Nikkan Sports.

"The main priority is to make a united effort to hold them (Olympics) in the summer of
No Tokyo Olympics likely means no Winter Olympics either'

If the postponed Tokyo Olympics do not go ahead next year due to the virus then the 2022 Beijing Winter Games is also unlikely to go ahead, International Olympic Committee Member Dick Pound said.

“Taking the political side out of it for the moment say there is a Covid problem in July and August next year in Tokyo, it is hard to imagine there is not going to be a knock-on effect in the same area five months later,” Pound told Reuters in a phone interview.

The Tokyo Summer Games are now set to be held in July - August 2021, while the Beijing Winter Games are scheduled for Feb 2022.

However, the IOC said earlier that it was "fully committed" to the Tokyo Games and had "multiple scenarios" prepared for them to take place safely.
Tokyo Games organisers prepare for one-year countdown

The organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games are preparing a day of celebrations to mark a year to the start of the Games, which are now due to be held in July 2021 after a year-long delay because of the coronavirus.

The postponement has raised concerns about cost, as well as the safety of athletes and spectators; a recent poll conducted by Kyodo News found that fewer than one in four favoured holding the Games as scheduled next year.

One-third believed the Olympics should be postponed again and another third wanted the Games cancelled outright.
The Tokyo Olympics will not be able to take place next summer unless a COVID-19 vaccine is found, a leading Japanese vaccine researcher has told Sky News.

Professor Yoshiharu Matsuura, from the Research Foundation for Microbial Disease of Osaka University, told Sky News: "In Japan, the government is putting a large emphasis on vaccine development and a medicine for the virus because of the Olympics.

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"They want to push ahead with the Olympics next year and they are saying the only way for that to happen is the vaccine."

The foundation, also referred to as the BIKEN Foundation, is developing a COVID-19 vaccine which is in the pre-clinical trial stage.

Japan has strict rules around developing vaccines, which means progress has been slower.

"Japan is really lagging behind in the race but the pharmaceutical companies, universities and vaccine manufacturers have gotten large funding from the government and proper work started about a month ago," Prof Matsuura said.

But Prof Matsuura is alarmed at the pace of vaccine development globally.

"The safety of the vaccine needs time to prove itself. A regular vaccine development takes 10 years and they are saying to do it in a year. This is scary," he said.

"So it's really warp speed, super express train. I find it slightly unnerving.

"I really think healthy people shouldn't take the vaccine."

Prof Matsuura is worried that if a rushed vaccine goes wrong, the antibodies it produces could end up making the coronavirus stronger instead of protecting against it.

It's a phenomenon called antibody dependent enhancement, or ADE, although there is no evidence yet for it in COVID-19.

Japan has handled the coronavirus pandemic relatively well, despite a large number of cases early in the year, mainly because of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

It has recorded 1,093 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, but cases have been increasing recently.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally due to begin in July this year but were postponed until next summer because of the pandemic.

Even if a vaccine is available globally, Prof Matsuura thinks that Japan will still have to develop its own vaccine.

"Vaccines are actually a part of national defence and it is a given that the vaccines are manufactured locally," he said.

"So even if someone somewhere in the world achieves success with the development, that vaccine wouldn't reach Japan for a long time so it is a basic necessity that we prepare our own vaccines."
The postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead next year "with or without Covid", the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee says.

John Coates confirmed to news agency AFP that the Olympics would start on 23 July next year, calling them the "Games that conquered Covid".

They were originally scheduled to start in July 2020, but were postponed due to Covid-19 fears.

The IOC had earlier said they would not delay the Games beyond 2021.

"The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami," Mr Coates told AFP, referring to 2011 catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel."

In July, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto said it was possible that the Games be held to a "limited" audience, but said they wanted to avoid the possibility of having no spectators at all.

Tokyo 2020 may have 'limited spectators'
Instead, he added that the Games could potentially "simplify" its opening and closing ceremonies, as well as reduce the number of staff and delegations from each country.

More than 11,000 athletes from around 200 countries were scheduled to take part in the 2020 Games. It is not clear how travel restrictions might impact their participation as Japan's borders are currently largely closed to foreign visitors.

Mr Muto also said a vaccine was not a prerequisite for the Games, though health experts had cast doubt over whether the Games could be held without a vaccine.

"If a vaccine is ready, that will be a benefit, but we're not saying we can't hold the event without it - it's not a precondition," he said.

In April, Games chief Yoshiro Mori said the Tokyo Games would have to be cancelled if there were not held in 2021.

Bach 'would understand Tokyo cancellation'
Explaining this decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said: "You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations."

Before the pandemic, the Games had only ever been cancelled because of war, but never postponed.
Fans will be able to attend the Tokyo Olympics next year under plans to vaccinate spectators and athletes upon their arrival in Japan, the head of the organising committee has said.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach has said he is working on the proposed safety measure, which would allow the event to take place despite a surge in coronavirus infections around the world.
Cost of Tokyo Olympics delay due to pandemic put at 'about $2bn'

The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under $2bn (£1.5bn), or about 200 billion yen.

Japan's Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure on Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to organisers.

The organisers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.

The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6bn (£9.4bn). However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6bn (£4.2bn) is public money. Tokyo said the games would cost $7.3 bn when it won the bid in 2013.

The IOC and organisers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a sceptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.

IOC President Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”

The Olympics are due to open on 12 July, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on 24 August.

They will involve around 15,400 athletes and tens of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.
Tokyo 2020: Games organisers see budget increase for delayed event

Organisers of the delayed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will spend $900m (£670m) on measures to stop the spread of coronavirus at next year's events.

The final budget means the Games will cost $15.9bn (£11.8bn) - up $2.8bn (£2.1bn) from figures last year.

It could make the Tokyo Games the most expensive summer Olympics in history.

"Whether you see this budget as expensive or not depends on how you look at it," said Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto.

"You can look at it from a cost perspective or an investment perspective. If you look at it purely in terms of cost, it doesn't make sense.

"But if you look at it as a positive investment, I think there are areas where it can be identified as such."

The coronavirus plans include the creation of an infection control centre in the Olympic and Paralympic Village, as well as plans to regularly test athletes and ban cheering in venues.

A poll last week by national broadcaster NHK showed that the majority of the Japanese general public oppose holding the Games next year, favouring a further delay or outright cancellation of the event.

But organisers insist the Games can be held, and have ruled out another delay.

Games elements, including athlete welcome ceremonies, have been scrapped in a bid to save money and the "look" of the event will also be scaled back.

But the savings, plus extra revenue from sponsors, have been cancelled out by extra costs including rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organising committee staff.

Organisers increased the service budget of the Games to $7.1bn (£5.3m), with extra money allotted for the opening and closing ceremonies.

However, the International Olympic Committee has agreed to cover the costs of moving the marathon and race-walking to northern Sapporo to beat Tokyo's summer heat.

"We are trying to hold a global event during a pandemic, and if we are able to do that, it would mean that we can co-exist with Covid-19," added Muto.

"We would be able to provide a model for living with the virus, and I think in that sense this event can be a meaningful one."
Tokyo 2020: Olympics and Paralympics will go ahead, says Japan's PM amid rising infections

The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will go ahead this summer despite concern over rising coronavirus cases, says Japan's prime minister.

The Olympics are due to begin on 23 July with the Paralympics following a month later from 24 August.

Cases have surged in Japan in recent days with Tokyo reporting over 1,000 daily infections for the first time.

But prime minister Yoshihide Suga said the "Games will be held this summer" and be "safe and secure".

Japan is responding to cases of the new variant of coronavirus first found in the UK, with Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike warning the number of infections could "explode".

There were a record 1,337 cases in Tokyo on 31 December with 783 new infections announced on Friday.

Japan has recorded 239,041 coronavirus cases and 3,337 deaths during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Costs for the Games have increased by $2.8bn (£2.1bn) because of measures needed to prevent the spread of coronavirus but organisers have ruled out a delay.

The Games could be the most expensive summer Olympics in history.

A poll by national broadcaster NHK showed that the majority of the Japanese general public oppose holding the Games in 2021, favouring a further delay or outright cancellation of the event.

Suga said the Games going ahead could serve as a "symbol of global solidarity".
The former chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics believes that it is “unlikely” that the Tokyo Games will take place this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Vaccine rollout will help us stage rescheduled event, says chief executive

Olympic organizers hope the Covid-19 vaccine will mean the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games can take place in July - despite a newspaper report on Friday casting doubt on their going ahead.

An unnamed government official was quoted in the Times stating it would be "too difficult" to hold the event.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto said: "There's no doubt [widespread vaccinations in the US and Europe] will have a positive effect.

"But it doesn't solve everything."

He told Reuters: "We are hopeful about the vaccines but, at the same time, I think it is inappropriate to be totally dependent on it."

Muto's interview with the news agency occurred before the Times report was published.

In response to that article, Tokyo 2020 organizers released a statement declaring that Japan's prime minister Yoshihide Suga had "expressed his determination" to hold the Olympics and Paralympics and that all stakeholders remained focused on delivering the event.

Pessimism over the Games' staging this year has been growing in recent weeks.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said on 7 January there could be no guarantee the Games would go ahead and last week Sir Keith Mills, chief executive of London 2012, said he thought it was "unlikely" the competition would take place. In Japan, a recent Kyodo News poll found that 80% of the population surveyed wanted the Olympics to be either canceled or postponed again.

Muto added: "As vaccinations are conducted to some extent, I expect public opinion will get generally relieved. And I think there is a possibility that it makes it easier to hold the Games.

"It is natural that people would be very worried about it. But we hope the situation will definitely be improved and under such a situation, I think public opinion will be improved as well."

The Games chief added that, unlike at tennis' Australian Open, athletes would not be asked to quarantine on arrival in Japan.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032 <a href=""></a></p>— The Times (@thetimes) <a href="">January 21, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
Let's face it besides the Athletics, there is very little worth watching. And even Athletics is drug fuelled rubbish where 99% are on peds
Let's face it besides the Athletics, there is very little worth watching. And even Athletics is drug fuelled rubbish where 99% are on peds

Maybe for you.

I watch Athletics, Boxing, all martial arts, hockey, rowing etc.

Good to know this is will take place. I'd love to be there but not sure they will allow us Brits to enter their land.
Former Olympic athlete Hashimoto chosen as head of Tokyo 2020 organisers

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese athlete-turned-politician Seiko Hashimoto has been chosen as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising committee, replacing a man who resigned after setting off a furore with sexist remarks.

Hashimoto, who competed in seven Summer and Winter Olympics as a cyclist and a skater, now faces a raft of tough issues at the helm of one of the world’s biggest sporting events with less than half a year before its delayed start.

She must ensure athletes and officials are kept safe from the coronavirus, while also facing strong public opposition to the Games being held amid the pandemic.

Hashimoto announced her selection shortly after submitting her resignation as Olympics minister to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who encouraged her to make the Games successful.

“As someone with an athletic background, I will carry out a safe Games for both athletes and citizens,” she told a news conference.

She replaces Yoshiro Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister, who resigned as Tokyo 2020 president last week after saying women talk too much.

Her appointment was welcomed by the International Olympic Committee which had not demanded Mori’s resignation and had initially considered the case closed after his first apology and refusal to step down.

“With her great Olympic experience....and having led Japan’s delegation to the Olympic Games multiple times, she is the perfect choice for this position,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

“Seiko Hashimoto can draw on her rich political experience as a Minister and many other political functions. This will help to deliver safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Opinion polls have repeatedly shown that more than 80 percent of Japanese do not believe the Games should be held this year due to the pandemic - a concern Hashimoto pledged to address for both ordinary citizens and athletes.

“I can imagine how tough it is for athletes with so many questions about whether they should even aim for the Olympics and Paralympics amid the pandemic,” she said.

A 56-year-old lawmaker in Japan’s ruling party, Hashimoto served as the Olympics minister, doubling as minister for women’s empowerment, since 2019 until resigning on Thursday.

She was born days before Japan hosted the 1964 summer Games and her name comes from a Chinese character used for the Olympic flame. She lived up to it by taking part in four Winter Olympics as a speed skater and three Summer Olympics as a cyclist.

However, Hashimoto has faced scrutiny over reports that she made unwanted advances to a sportsman at a party during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

A magazine at the time published photographs of her kissing popular ice skater Daisuke Takahashi. She said then that athletes often hug and kiss each other and she regretted if this had caused any misunderstanding. Takahashi never made any complaint.

Questioned about the incident on Thursday after it was raised again on social media, she said: “Both then and now, I deeply regret my careless behaviour.”
Japan to stage Olympic and Paralympic games 'without overseas spectators'

Overseas spectators will not be allowed at this summer's Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games, it has been reported.

The games have already been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and organisers were hopeful international visitors would be able to attend.

However the Japanese government has said welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the spread of variants from other countries, the Kyodo news agency said.

The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without spectators, the agency added.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto had said she wanted a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay on March 25.

"We would really like people from around the world to come to a full stadium, but unless we are prepared to accept them and the medical situation in Japan is perfect, it will cause a great deal of trouble also to visitors from overseas," Ms Hashimoto told reporters last week.

The Olympics are being held from 23 July to 8 Aug and the Paralympics from 25 August to 5 September.
Tokyo 2020: China offers Covid vaccine doses for Olympic and Paralympic athletes

The Chinese Olympic Committee has offered Covid vaccine doses for those competing at the summer Games and at the 2022 winter Games in Beijing.

The news was delivered by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who on Wednesday reiterated that the delayed Tokyo 2020 will start on 23 July.

"The IOC will pay for these additional doses of vaccines for the Olympic and Paralympic team," he added.

The Winter Olympics start in February.

Bach added: "For each of these doses, the IOC will pay for two doses more which can be made available to the population in the respective countries."

Meanwhile, Sarah Hirshland, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief executive, said Team USA athletes could be vaccinated before their respective trials because of the pace of the rollout in the country.

"The broad base of athletes may have access to the vaccine sooner than we thought initially possible," she said.

"This is great news and we're feeling really positive about the progress we're seeing here in the United States, both in its advantage to US athletes as well as international athletes living and training in our country right now."
No international fans will be permitted at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, organisers say.

Japanese authorities told the Olympic and Paralympic committees it was "highly unlikely that entry" to the country could be guaranteed.

Organisers said the move would help ensure "a safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public".

The Games are due to begin on 23 July.
North Korea has announced it will not take part in the Tokyo Olympics this year, saying the decision is to protect its athletes from Covid-19.

The decision puts an end to South Korea's hopes of using the Games to engage with the North amid stalled cross-border talks.

In 2018, both sides entered a joint team at the Winter Olympics which led to a series of historic summits.

Pyongyang says it has no cases of the virus but experts say this is unlikely.

The announcement makes North Korea the first major country to skip the delayed 2020 Games because of the pandemic. The event is due to begin on 23 July.

This will be the first time North Korea misses a Summer Olympics since 1988, when it it boycotted the Seoul games during the Cold War.

Hopes dashed

The decision was made at a Olympic committee meeting on 25 March, according to a report by the state-run site Sports in the DPRK.

North Korea has taken stringent measures against the virus since it broke out last year.

It shut off its borders in late January and later quarantined hundreds of foreigners in its capital.

Since early last year, trains and wagons have been forbidden to enter or leave North Korea, with most international passenger flights stopped as well.

There were hopes by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in that the games could be a catalyst for progress between both Koreas.

That had been the case in 2018, when North Korea sent 22 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, along with government officials, journalists and a 230-member cheering group.

Among the contingent was North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong - a move which helped it initiate diplomacy with South Korea and the US.

Coronavirus: Japan declares virus emergency in Tokyo as Olympics near

Japan has announced emergency Covid measures in Tokyo and three other areas in a bid to curb rising infections, just three months before the country is set to host the Olympics.

The government said the state of emergency - set to last for about two weeks - would be "short and powerful".

Under the measures, bars will be required to close and big sporting events will be held without spectators.

The government has insisted that the Olympics will go ahead in July.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the measures on Friday, saying they would begin on Sunday and remain in place until 11 May. In addition to Tokyo, the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo will be affected.

It marks the third state of emergency in Japan since the pandemic began.

"I sincerely apologise for causing trouble for many people again," he said. "It is feared that contagion in major cities will spread across the whole country if we take no measures."

Under the rules, major commercial facilities like department stores will close, as well as restaurants, bars, and karaoke parlours serving alcohol.

Restaurants that do not serve alcohol are being told to close early, and companies are being asked to make arrangements for people to work remotely. Schools will remain open.

The emergency measures coincide with the country's "Golden Week" holiday, which runs from late April to the first week of May and is the busiest travel period of the year.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to start taking precautions immediately. In an effort to discourage people from going out at night, she said illuminations and neon signs would be turned off.

The coronavirus toll in Japan has been much lower than in many other countries, with about 558,000 cases and fewer than 10,000 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.

But there are concerns over the latest rise in infections, with reports of hospital bed shortages in some areas.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said at a news conference on Friday that organisers were not considering cancelling the event.

"I hope the coronavirus situation improves with the countermeasures the government, Tokyo, and other regional governments have put into place," she said.

"We, as Tokyo 2020, continue to wish for the swift return to normalcy and will continue to work closely with the relevant parties to make sure a safe and secure Olympics can happen."
The International Olympic Committee has accepted an offer from Pfizer to provide vaccines to athletes and support staff preparing to compete in Tokyo in July.
With less than three months to go before the Games begin on July 23, Japan is battling a surge in coronavirus infections.

A majority of its population wants the Olympics cancelled or postponed for a second time, according to several polls, with about 70% of the 10,500 athletes -- about 7,800 -- already qualified for the Games.

“We are now very much in an implementation phase with 78 days to go and fully concentrated on delivering the Games,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told an online news conference.

“When the Games happen and the Japanese people are proud hosts of an event that will be an historic moment, I think I am very confident we will see public opinion hugely in favour of the Games.”

His online news conference, however, ended with a protester, who had signed up as a journalist to ask a question, unfurling a banner reading “No to Olympics” and shouting profanities and “No Olympics anywhere” before being cut off.

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May as the number of cases rises daily, forcing IOC President Thomas Bach to postpone a visit to Japan in May.

An opinion survey conducted from May 7-9 by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily showed 59% of respondents wanted the Games cancelled as opposed to 39% who said they should be held. “Postponement” was not offered as an option.

Another poll conducted at the weekend by TBS News found 65% wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again. More than 300,000 people have signed a petition to cancel the Games since it was launched about five days ago.

“In terms of Japan and Tokyo we understand the caution,” Adams said. “We are fully in solidarity with them. People are very cautious. We have to fully trust Japanese authorities.”

“There will be ups and downs (in public opinion).We have to take account of public opinion on a longer term. As thing stand now we are moving full ahead. We continue to plan for full Games. That’s the way it has to be for us.”
There's a lot of public anger in Tokyo against the government for allowing the Olympics to continue. 300,000 people have signed a petition for the games to get cancelled, but thus far the PM, Yoshihide Suge, has publicly maintained support for the event to be held as planned. There's a very good chance that he'll suffer at the polls over the issue if he doesn't backtrack.
Tennis great Roger Federer has called on Olympics organisers to end the uncertainty around the Tokyo Games, with the 20-times Grand Slam winner saying he was still in two minds whether to compete.

The Olympics are set to run from July 23 to Aug. 8 after being postponed in March last year over the coronavirus pandemic.

But Japan, battling a surge of infections, has extended until the end of May a state of emergency in its capital, Tokyo, and three areas.

"Honestly I don't know what to think. I'm a bit between the two," Federer, who won a doubles gold in the 2008 Beijing Games and a silver in singles four years later in London, told Swiss television station Leman Bleu on Friday.

"I would love to play in the Olympics, win a medal for Switzerland. It would make me especially proud. But if it doesn't happen because of the situation, I would be the first to understand.

"I think what the athletes need is a decision: is it going to happen or is it not going to happen?

"At the moment, we have the impression that it will happen. We know it's a fluid situation. And you can also decide as an athlete if you want to go. If you feel there's a lot of resistance, maybe it's better not to go. I don't know."

A petition calling for the cancellation of the rescheduled Games garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days and was submitted to organisers on Friday, raising new questions about whether the Olympics should go ahead.

Rafa Nadal, who is tied with Federer at 20 for the most Grand Slam singles titles in men's tennis, and 23-times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams this week said they were still unsure of competing in Tokyo.

Japan's top-ranked women's and men's tennis players - Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori - also added their voice to the concerns, saying the risks of holding the Olympics amid the pandemic should continue to be carefully discussed.

Federer, a father of four, said he had taken the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

"I'm glad that I could do it, with all the travelling I do," said Federer, who will play the Geneva Open next week, his second tournament since returning in March after a year out due to knee problems.

"Even if I'm staying in Switzerland, I think there are advantages. Above all, I did it for others because I don't want to give it to anyone else, even if I still remain very careful.

"We're very careful with the family and with our friends."

More than 80% of Japanese oppose hosting the Olympics this year, a new poll published on Monday showed, with just under 10 weeks until the Tokyo Games.

The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of virus infections.

The surge has put pressure on the country’s healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

The weekend survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43% of respondents want the Games cancelled, and 40% want a further postponement.

Those figures are up from 35% who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago, and 34% who wanted a further delay.

Only 14% support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28%, according to the poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls.

If the Games do go ahead, 59% of respondents said they want no spectators, with 33% backing lower fan numbers and 3% a regular capacity Games.

For months, polling has found a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer. A separate poll by Kyodo News published Sunday showed 59.7% of respondents back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

Olympic organisers says tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe. But the Kyodo poll found 87.7% of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.

Japan has seen a smaller virus outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far. But the government has come under pressure for a comparatively slow vaccine rollout.

The Kyodo poll found 85% of respondents considered the rollout slow, with 71.5 percent unhappy with the government’s handling of the pandemic.

A top medical organisation has thrown its weight behind calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics saying hospitals are already overwhelmed as the country battles a spike in coronavirus infections less than three months from the start of the Games.

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association representing about 6,000 primary care doctors said hospitals in the Games host city “have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity” amid a surge in infections.

“We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the association said in a May 14 open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga which was posted to its website on Monday.

A jump in infections has stoked alarm amid a shortage of medical staff and hospital beds in some areas of the Japanese capital, promoting the government to extend a third state of emergency in Tokyo and several other prefectures until May 31.

“The medical institutions dealing with COVID-19 have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity,” the medical association said in its letter.

Doctors would soon face the added difficulty of dealing with heat exhaustion patients during the summer months and if the Olympics contributed to a rise in deaths “Japan will bear the maximum responsibility”, it added.

Other health experts and medical groups have voiced their concerns here about the Olympics, while an online petition calling for the Games to be cancelled was signed by hundreds of thousands of people.

Overall, Japan has avoided an explosive spread of the virus experienced by other nations, but the government has come under sharp criticism here for its sluggish vaccination roll-out.

Only about 3.5% of its population of about 126 million has been vaccinated, according to a Reuters tracker.

Underscoring the challenges with the vaccinations, booking systems for mass inoculation sites being launched in Tokyo and Osaka - which started accepting bookings on Monday - were marred by technical glitches.

But Suga says Japan can host “a safe and secure Olympics” while following appropriate COVID-19 containment measures.

Preparations for the July 23-Aug. 8 Games are progressing under tight COVID-19 protocols, such as an athletics test event here featuring 420 athletes in early May.

The Games have already been postponed once due to the pandemic.

With cases surging across much of Asia, the World Economic Forum on Monday cancelled its annual meeting of the global elite due to be held in Singapore in August.

Under the state of emergency in parts of Japan, bars, restaurants, karaoke parlours and other places serving alcohol will remain closed, although large commercial facilities can re-open under shorter hours. Hard-hit Tokyo and Osaka will continue to keep these larger facilities closed.

The number of cases nationwide dropped to 3,680 on Monday, the lowest level since April 26, according to public broadcaster NHK, but the number of heavy infections hit a record high of 1,235, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
Tokyo Olympics to go ahead ‘Covid state of emergency or not’

A senior member of the International Olympic Committee has said that the Tokyo 2020 Games can go ahead even if the host city is under a state of emergency because of the coronavirus.

“All the measures we are undertaking will ensure a safe Games regardless of whether there is a state of emergency or not,” John Coates, an IOC vice-president who is in charge of preparations, told reporters after a virtual meeting with organisers on Friday.

“Provided that we can protect the Japanese public, the most important thing is giving athletes a chance to compete.”

The IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers have insisted the Games will go ahead, despite widespread public opposition in Japan and warnings from health experts that the arrival of tens of thousands of athletes, officials, journalists and support staff this summer risked spreading Covid-19.

Japanese doctors and medical workers have called for the Games to be cancelled to relieve pressure on overwhelmed health services, while a recent poll found that 83% of the public want the event to be either called off or postponed for a second time.

While most athletes are expected to be fully vaccinated by the time the Games open in two months’ time, only 4.1% of Japan’s population has received at least one jab – the lowest rate of any advanced economy – and only 30% of medical workers in Tokyo are fully protected, the Nikkei business newspaper said.

Seiko Hashimoto, the president of Tokyo 2020, said up to 230 doctors and 310 nurses would be needed each day during the Olympics and the Paralympics. The number of officials, journalists and other Games-related staff due to arrive in Tokyo has been cut from 180,000 to 78,000, she added.

“I can say it’s now clearer than ever that these Games would be safe for everyone participating and, importantly, safe for the people of Japan,” Coates said, adding that the IOC was working with organisers to send medical personnel to Tokyo. “After eight years of hard work and planning, the finish line is within touching distance.”

Tokyo and nine other prefectures in Japan are currently subject to state of emergency measures that include a ban on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants – which must also close at 8pm – and requests to avoid travel and non-essential outings. On Sunday, similar restrictions will go into effect in Okinawa prefecture, which reported a record number of infections this week.

The state of emergency in Tokyo is due to end on 31 May, but health experts have cautioned that daily cases, while lower than last week, have not fallen to a level that would justify an easing of restrictions.

On Friday, Shigeru Omi, who heads the government’s coronavirus advisory panel, told MPs that organisers must consider the impact the Games could have on Japan’s medical infrastructure before deciding whether to go ahead.

Preparations for Tokyo 2020 have been hit by disruptions to the torch relay, while on Friday the Canadian swimming team became the latest delegation to pull out of a pre-Olympic training camp over coronavirus fears.

Plans for about 50 training camps have been scrapped, and dozens of Japanese towns have abandoned plans to host athletes.

With less than two months until the Tokyo Olympics begin, a group of US public health experts are among the latest to warn that pushing forward with the rescheduled 2020 Games puts athletes -- and the public -- at risk amid the pandemic.

The experts, including Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy among other scientists, call for "urgent action" to asstess the Covid-19 risks associated with the Games and the additional measures that could be put in place to mitigate those risks.

The researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday that they recommend the World Health Organization "immediately convene an emergency committee" to advise on a risk-management approach for the Tokyo Olympics.

The current plans to proceed with the Olympic Games are "not informed by the best scientific evidence," the researchers wrote, calling for changes.

"I'd give them a chance right now. I think that we all want the good news of the Olympics," Osterholm told CNN's John Berman on Wednesday morning when asked if he would cancel the Games.

"I think no one at this point wouldn't want to have that torch lit and to see us come back together, but I think that the approach they're taking right now is virtually a dangerous one if they don't change many of the recommendations they have and for how they're going to protect athletes and their support team members," Osterholm said. "I think this is a real challenge."

The growing concern comes about a week after Japanese doctors called for the Games to be canceled amid a worsening outbreak in the country.

The US State Department on Monday urged citizens to avoid all travel to Japan, but officials insist it will not complicate preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, now just weeks away. And on Wednesday local time, the Asahi Shimbun, a leading newspaper in Japan that is sponsoring the Olympic Games in July, published an editorial calling for the event to be canceled.

'Not informed by the best scientific evidence'

Due to the pandemic, the International Olympic Committee postponed the Tokyo Olympics last year and rescheduled the event for this summer -- starting on July 23.

In preparation for the Games, the IOC included various Covid-19 countermeasures in official playbooks, which involve daily Covid-19 testing, only traveling in dedicated vehicles and designating specific locations for eating, among other measures.

"The Playbooks have been developed based on science, benefiting from learnings gathered during the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a joint statement made in April by the IOC, International Paralympic Committe, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan.

The statement added that the playbooks implement mask-wearing, personal hygiene, physical distancing and draw from hundreds of other sporting events that have taken place during the pandemic, "which have been held safely, with minimal risk to participants and the local population."

In the New England Journal of Medicine, Osterholm and his co-authors wrote that the playbooks could include more frequent Covid-19 testing and they emphasized that plans for temperature checks could miss pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic cases.

"In the absence of regular testing, participants may become infected during the Olympics and pose a risk when they return home to more than 200 countries," they wrote.

"We believe the IOC's determination to proceed with the Olympic Games is not informed by the best scientific evidence," the researchers wrote. "The playbooks maintain that athletes participate at their own risk, while failing both to distinguish the various levels of risk faced by athletes and to recognize the limitations of measures such as temperature screenings and face coverings."

The researchers noted that the IOC's playbooks should classify various sporting events as low, moderate or high risk depending on the activity. For instance, an outdoor sport where competitors are naturally spaced out, such as archery or equestrian, could be considered low risk while indoor contact sports, such as boxing or wrestling, could be considered high risk.

Vaccine maker donates Covid-19 shots

As another safety measure, the IOC announced in early May that the companies Pfizer and BioNTech offered to provide additional doses of their coronavirus vaccine to teams heading to the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

"This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a news release in early May.

"We are inviting the athletes and participating delegations of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine where and when possible," he added in part.

In Japan, where the Olympic Games will be held, less than 5% of the population is vaccinated, the researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. They added that not all athletes participating in the Olympics may be able to get vaccinated.

"Pfizer and BioNTech have offered to donate vaccines for all Olympic athletes, but this offer does not ensure that all athletes will receive vaccines before the Olympics, since vaccine authorization and availability are lacking in more than 100 countries," the researchers wrote. "Although several countries have vaccinated their athletes, adolescents between 15 and 17 years of age cannot be vaccinated in most countries, and children younger than 15 can be vaccinated in even fewer countries."

They also noted in the paper that coronavirus variants, which may be more transmissible than the original strain, are circulating widely -- posing risks.

Tokyo doctors want Games canceled

A major Japanese doctors' group has called for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled over fears that the influx of people will exacerbate an already worsening outbreak in the country. The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association warned earlier this month that the country's health care system could not cope with the medical needs of thousands of athletes, coaches and press on top of the existing surge in Covid-19 cases.

The group wrote about its concerns in a letter sent to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Minister for the Games Tamayo Marukawa, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Japanese Olympic Committee Chairman Seiko Hashimoto.

"We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games," doctors wrote in the letter, dated May 14. The letter was sent just days after the national doctor's union in Japan also urged the government to cancel the Games.

"The most important priority now is to fight against COVID-19 and to secure people's lives and livelihoods," the letter said. "The virus is spreading with the movement of people. Japan will bear a big responsibility if the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games contributes to the spread of COVID-19 and increases the number of sufferers and deaths."
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Japan To Be Under Covid State of Emergency Until Month Before Olympics

Tokyo and nine other parts of the country are currently under emergency orders with concerns that holding of the Games can create new virus strain.

Tokyo: Japan will extend a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas on Friday until just a month before the Olympics, in a move that is likely to fuel concerns over whether the Games can be held safely.
Tokyo and nine other parts of the country are currently under emergency orders which mostly involve closing bars and restaurants early and banning them from selling alcohol.

The emergency was supposed to expire at the end of May in most places, but the government now says it needs more time to control a fourth wave of infections.

"The overall level (of infections) continues to be very high," Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of coronavirus response, said Friday.

"Considering this situation, we believe it is necessary to extend the state of emergency measures."

On Friday, the government's advisory panel approved an extension until June 20, just over a month before the pandemic-postponed Olympics open on July 23. A formal announcement is expected later.

The move comes with Japan's public still firmly opposed to holding the 2020 Games this summer. In recent weeks, leading businessmen and even a newspaper sponsoring the Olympics have called for the event to be cancelled.

But organisers and Japanese officials say the Games will go on, citing extensive rulebooks aimed at keeping participants and the public safe.

- 'Olympic strain' -

On Thursday, Naoto Ueyama, chair of the minor Japan Doctors Union, warned the Games could produce a "Tokyo Olympic strain" of coronavirus and urged a cancellation to prevent a "disaster".

Haruo Ozaki, head of the larger Tokyo Medical Association with more than 20,000 members, said organisers would have to bar all spectators at a "minimum".

Overseas fans have already been banned, and a decision on domestic spectators is expected late next month.

Even under the current state of emergency, sports venues in Japan are allowed to seat 5,000 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is smallest.

Officials have been trying to drive home the message that the Games are on and will be safe, announcing recently that the vast majority of those in the Olympic village will be vaccinated.

Despite the negative polling and warnings against the Games, protests against the event tend to attract just a few dozen people.

Australia's softball team is expected to arrive next week to start training in Japan, and Japanese athletes and Olympic staff will start receiving vaccines from June 1.

They will be jumping the queue in Japan's slow vaccine rollout, with jabs currently only available to medical workers and the elderly.

Just over six percent of the population has so far received a first dose, with less than 2.5 percent fully vaccinated.

The slow pace has piled pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who was appointed after Shinzo Abe's resignation last year and faces an election in the autumn.

Japan has seen a comparatively small virus outbreak, with around 12,500 deaths, enabling it to avoid harsh lockdowns.

But Suga's government has faced criticism for its pandemic response, and polls show strong dissatisfaction with the vaccine rollout in particular.
Tokyo Olympics: People in Japan oppose games going ahead - but only an 'Armageddon' will stop it

Sixty-three per cent of the public are against holding the Olympics, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The only thing which will stop the Tokyo Olympics going ahead, according to the International Olympic Committee, is "Armageddon" - a bar that the pandemic, as terrible as it has been, does not currently meet.

That has many in Japan upset.

Sixty-three per cent of the public are opposed to holding the Olympics, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

Nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on 30 May and although the number has been trending downwards since the middle of May, the public is questioning whether 90,000 athletes, officials, journalists and other workers arriving in the country is the wisest idea.

That may seem strange in the UK, which is preparing to host a chunk of the Euro 2020 football tournament. But the Japanese public has three reasons to hesitate.

First, Japan has controlled COVID a lot better than most. There have only been around 13,000 deaths over the whole pandemic - and it wants to keep things that way.

Second, the arrival of new, more transmissible variants, which Japan has largely avoided.

And third, Japan has proceeded very cautiously with vaccine approvals. As a result, only 12 million doses have been administered for a country with a population of 126.3 million.

Those are all justified concerns but don't satisfy the IOC's Armageddon criteria. And with less than two months before the games start, they are unlikely to be cancelled. Another postponement has already been ruled out.

Japan is taking some measures. Foreign spectators have already been banned from coming. And capacity in stadiums will be reduced, as it has for baseball and football matches.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Japanese spectators would have to provide proof of vaccination (which will be pretty hard to come by the way things are going) or a negative COVID-19 test. There were also reports that anyone watching in person would be barred from shouting or giving high-fives.

If the spectators are there to provide atmosphere, a disgruntled public forbidden from cheering doesn't promise much of that. And there could still be a ban on anyone attending at all.

To avoid that, the Japanese government needs to reassure the public a lot more effectively than it has so far.
The president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee ruled out a cancellation or further postponement of the Olympics as doubts swirled among city governments and medical professionals whether the event can be held safely amid the pandemic.

Public opinion polls in Japan have consistently shown that a majority want the Games cancelled or put off yet again after being delayed by one year because of the coronavirus crisis. A majority of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly feel the same way, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported on Thursday.
Two-time defending champion Mo Farah's hopes of representing Great Britain in the Olympic 10,000m seem to be over after he fell short of the qualifying mark in the European 10,000m Cup.

The 38-year-old was eighth, behind fellow Briton Marc Scott, in a race that doubled as the Olympic trial.

Farah's time of 27 minutes 50.54 seconds in Birmingham was more than 22 seconds short of the required time.

He said afterwards that he was carrying an injury to his left ankle.

"I'm disappointed with the result," he said.

"The last 10 days hasn't been great but no matter what I achieve in my career it's important I come out and show at the trials.

"It would have been easy not to show. I dug in deep and with 15 laps to go, you know my face, I was hurting hard. I had to keep fighting and digging in.

"What makes us great is being able to challenge yourself and prove it. So that is what you have got to do as the next stage."

Farah has until 27 June to dip inside the 27:28 standard for Tokyo.

Alternatively he could turn his attention to the 5,000m, an event he also won gold in at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, at the British Championships on 26 June.

However, Farah's disappointing performance suggests that his plan to retire after a track comeback in Tokyo may be brought forward.

Farah has spent the past three-and-half years attempting to replicate his track success on the road, but his marathon switch failed to stick.

In his first track 10,000m since winning the 2017 world title in the London Stadium, it was clear that the event has moved on.

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei, who finished second at London 2017, has succeeded him as world champion and, in October, broke Kenenisa Bekele's 15-year-old world record with a time more than 35 seconds quicker than Farah could manage at his best.
IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games announced

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have revealed the names of the athletes who will represent the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.

The final 29 athletes announced on Tuesday (8th June) come from 11 countries, and were selected by the IOC’s Executive Board from an initial group of 55 IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders.

"The refugee athletes are an enrichment for all of us in the entire Olympic community," IOC President Thomas Bach said at the virtual ceremony from Lausanne. "The reasons we created this team still exist. We have more forcibly displaced people in the world right now, and therefore it went without saying that we wanted to create an IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics".

"The athletes represent not only themselves, not only the IOC, but also all refugees in the world," IOC Refugee Olympic Team Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe added. "Let's bring solidarity, as we are solidarity people.

"Our universal language is sport, let's go and bring joy."

During the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games on 23 July 2021, the team will enter the brand new Japan National Stadium with the Olympic flag in second position, immediately after Greece.

The team will stay in the Olympic village, like all the other 206 National Olympic Committees taking part, and continue to receive IOC support after the Games.

For all official representations of the team (including possible medal ceremonies), the Olympic flag will be raised and the Olympic anthem will be played.

Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko said: "The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee welcomes the participation of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, following its debut at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

"The participation of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team in the Tokyo 2020 Games, which will be both a festival of sport and a celebration of peace, will draw the world's attention to the issue of refugees and further advance efforts to achieve world peace through the elimination of the wars and conflicts that cause people to flee their homeland."
Athletes face Olympic ban for violating virus rules in Tokyo

Athletes could be kicked out of the Tokyo Olympics if they violate virus rules including daily testing and mask-wearing, organisers said Tuesday as they unveiled updated guidelines just over five weeks before the opening ceremony.

The latest and final version of the rules for athletes runs 70 pages, complete with comic strips intended to explain the complex web of rules that organisers say will keep the Games safe.

Officials hope the restrictions will build confidence among Japan's sceptical public that the Games can be held safely even though the pandemic has not yet been brought under control.

Olympic officials and Tokyo 2020 organisers emphasised new specific penalties for athletes if they violate rules -- including warnings, fines or even "temporary or permanent ineligibility or exclusion from the Games."

Officials did not clarify whether that sanction meant athletes could be barred from future Olympics as well as Tokyo.

"We expect you to play by the rules, but if you don't there will be sanctions that could be coming your way," said Pierre Ducrey, Olympic Games operations director for the International Olympic Committee.

With just weeks to go, Tokyo is under a virus state of emergency and no decision has yet been taken on whether any domestic spectators will even be allowed to attend, after overseas fans were banned earlier this year.

Organisers are trying to shift the narrative, emphasising the safety measures they are taking and that the majority of athletes and those in the Olympic village will be vaccinated and kept away from the Japanese public.

- 'No transgressions' -

"The playbooks are there to be followed, no transgressions," IOC Games director Christophe Dubi told reporters.

Organisers did not specify which sanctions would apply for which violations, and also said they could not detail the size of potential fines.

A disciplinary committee will be charged with weighing any violations and potential punishments.

As organisers count down to the opening ceremony on July 23, Olympic officials have begun arriving in Tokyo, including IOC vice-president John Coates who landed early Tuesday.

Ahead of his arrival, several dozen people protested against the Games in Tokyo, though recent opinion polls suggest public opposition may be weakening.

National polls in recent months found most people in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer, preferring either a postponement or cancellation.

But with the first foreign athletes already in the country and Olympic officials arriving, the mood may be shifting.

A survey in early June found half of the Japanese public back holding the Games, and a new poll published late Monday showed 64 percent now support it going ahead.

The survey by national broadcaster NHK found 31 percent of respondents want the Games cancelled, down from 49 percent in May.

In all, 64 percent said they want the Games to go ahead -- including 29 percent who favour a ban on spectators, 32 percent who want limited spectators and three percent who want no restrictions on fans.

The poll did not give the option of postponement, which organisers have ruled out.

- Spectator decision looms -

In Ota City, north of Tokyo, several hundred residents turned out Tuesday to watch Australia's softball team train after they became the first Olympic athletes to arrive in Japan last week.

"I hope they will hold the Games with spectators," 54-year-old Michiyo Saito told AFP at the training session.

"They came from very far away, so I wanted to support them in any small way I can," Saito said of the Australian team.

"I am scared of the coronavirus. But as they seem to have anti-virus measures in place, I thought it would be OK."

Around 84 percent of athletes coming to Tokyo have already been vaccinated, Coates told the Australian Financial Review newspaper before departing for Tokyo.

"We can never get to 100 percent, I don't imagine, but if we can try and identify who hasn't been vaccinated and ensure they're vaccinated," he said.

Athletes from some Asian and African countries are being flown to Qatar for vaccines, while South American athletes are being flown to Miami and Houston for shots organised by the IOC, he said.

In Tokyo, organisers are waiting for the end of a virus state of emergency before ruling on whether local spectators will be allowed in Olympic venues.

The emergency, which mostly requires bars and restaurants to close early and stop serving alcohol, will lift on June 20, but reports suggest the government could keep some measures in place in Tokyo during the Games, potentially limiting Olympic spectator numbers.
Olympics are a total waste of money and time. The amount of money spent in building the infra for Olympics for just 2 or 3 weeks of Tamasha is incredible.
Tokyo Olympics: No spectators is 'least risky' option

The Olympics, originally meant to happen last year, will open on 23 July
Having no spectators at the Tokyo Olympics is the "least risky" option, Japanese medical experts have said.

In a report, they warned there was "a risk the movement of people" would spread Covid infections and "strain the [country's] medical system".

But other Japanese officials have indicated they want domestic fans to attend if possible. Foreign spectators have already been banned.

The Olympics, originally meant to happen last year, will open on 23 July.

The report by the Japanese medical experts, led by top health adviser Shigeru Omi, was issued on Friday.

It said that holding the Games without spectators was the "least risky" option and the desirable one.

However, the experts also floated an option that Olympic venues could each hold up to 10,000 spectators.

The president of Japan's organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, agreed that a "no fans" approach would reduce infections.

But she added that she would still explore ways to allow spectators.

The final decision is expected on Monday.

In a separate development on Friday, officials and volunteers working on the Games started receiving vaccinations.

Pfizer are providing enough doses for 40,000 people, in an effort separate to Japan's national vaccination drive.

The Olympics are scheduled to go ahead despite a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in Japan in recent months.

A state of emergency in Tokyo is set to be lifted on Sunday, but polls in local media suggest public scepticism to the Games going ahead remains high amid a slow vaccine roll-out.

Only about 16% of the country's population have received one Covid-19 dose so far, according to Reuters news agency.

The vaccine doses allocated for Games officials have been supplied by Pfizer as part of a deal agreed with the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government.

Those being vaccinated include volunteers and staff working at the athletes village and members of the media covering the Games.

"Now that I will be vaccinated, I will feel a little more reassured doing my job," Chika Hirai, director of doping control for Tokyo 2020, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
A member of Uganda's Olympic squad has become the first to test positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Japan for the competition due to start on 23 July.

The event was postponed last year, but is now going ahead despite a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in Japan.

Uganda is also experiencing a surge in cases, which forced the government to tighten lockdown measures on Friday.

The unnamed Ugandan was part of a nine-member squad that had been fully vaccinated, reports said.
Tottenham Hotspur Star Son Heung-Min Left Out Of South Korea Olympic Football Squad

Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min was not included in South Korea's 18-man Olympic football squad named on Wednesday, avoiding a potential club-versus-country dilemma. Son's new English Premier League campaign with Tottenham is due to begin on Sunday August 15 against champions Manchester City, just a week after the Olympic final in Tokyo. Hwang Ui-jo of FC Girondins de Bordeaux was named in the under-24 squad as an over-age player, while Valencia midfielder Lee Kang-in, the youngest member of the squad at 20, can avoid military service by winning an Olympic medal.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men to serve for 18 months. But Olympic medallists or gold medallists at the Asian Games are awarded exemptions from service.

Spurs striker Son was excused an 18-month stint in the armed forces after winning a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, as was Hwang, who scored 12 goals for Bordeaux last season.

"I did not take into consideration the issue of military service," said head coach Kim Hak-bum on naming his squad.

"I only focused on finding those who were most competitive," he told reporters. "We will aim for the best."

The Taeguk Warriors won bronze at London 2012, and start their quest for a second Olympic medal against New Zealand on July 22.

Romania and Honduras are also in Group B, with the two top teams from each of the four groups advancing to the quarter-finals.

South Korea squad:

Goalkeepers: Song Bum-keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Ahn Joon-soo (Busan IPark)

Defenders: Lee You-hyeon (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Jeong Tae-wook (Daegu FC), Kim Jae-woo (Daegu FC), Kim Jin-ya (FC Seoul), Seol Young-woo (Ulsan FC), Kim Min-jae (Beijing Guoan)

Listen to the latest songs, only on

Midfielders: Lee Kang-in (Valencia CF), Kim Dong-hyun (Gangwon FC), Won Du-jae (Ulsan FC), Lee Dong-gyeong (Ulsan FC), Jeong Seung-won (Daegu FC),

Forwards: Hwang Ui-jo (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Kwon Chang-hoon (Suwon Bluewings), Song Min-kyu (Pohang Steelers), Lee Dong-jun (Ulsan FC), Um Won-sang (Gwangju FC).
Olympics are a total waste of money and time. The amount of money spent in building the infra for Olympics for just 2 or 3 weeks of Tamasha is incredible.

That's totally untrue.

The benefits from the infrastructure last for decades. Cities like Barcelona, Sochi and Athens got transformed into big business hubs after the Olympics were held there.

There is a reason why every city in the World fights for the right to host the Olympics.
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World 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser will miss the #Tokyo2020 Olympics this summer after being handed a two-year ban following an issue of missed drug tests.
Tokyo organisers lean toward banning spectators from night events -newspaper

TOKYO, July 2 (Reuters) - Tokyo Olympics organisers are leaning towards banning spectators from night-time events and large-scale venues, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday, amid persistent worries about the spread of COVID-19 just three weeks before the Games begin.

Polls show a majority of Japanese oppose holding the Olympics given warnings from health experts that it could unleash another wave of infections. The Games are scheduled to start on July 23, after a year's delay due to the pandemic.

The governors of Chiba and Saitama prefectures near Tokyo have already been urging organisers to ban spectators from night-time events in their localities.

Their request is being discussed and a decision will be made at five-way talks that will include the Tokyo governor, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the head of Tokyo 2020, Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa told reporters.

The talks will be held on July 8, Kyodo news agency said.

The government is also expected to make a call next week on whether to lift a state of "quasi-emergency" in Tokyo and other parts of the country.

Organisers have pledged to make the Games "safe and secure", arguing other large sporting events have been held safely.

While they have banned overseas spectators, they have so far decided to cap the number of domestic spectators to 10,000 per venue for the Games, or 50% of capacity, despite medical experts saying no spectators would be the "least risky" option.

Brushing aside concerns the Olympics could become a "superspreader" event, Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics and a member of the IOC, told CNBC on Thursday the Games "will go ahead and they should go ahead".

But the Euro 2020 soccer tournament - which has been blamed this week for a surge in COVID-19 cases as fans flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe - is likely to further fuel worries in Japan.

The governor of Hokkaido in northern Japan has indicated he would prefer if people did not come to watch the marathon along its routes in the city of Sapporo and has asked organisers to come up with safety protocols.

Top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato, when asked about the remarks, said he would "monitor discussions" between organisers and local authorities.


Japan is likely to extend by two weeks or more its COVID-19 containment measures in the greater Tokyo area after the current July 11 deadline, government sources have said.

Japan is not hesitant about extending curbs in Tokyo, but "it is meaningless if it has no impact", Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told reporters.

Japan has not suffered the explosive COVID-19 outbreak seen elsewhere but the potential spread of more contagious variants and a slow initial rollout of vaccines have fuelled concerns.

Worries about vaccine supply are also clouding the outlook.

The government has stopped accepting new applications from firms and universities that want to set up mass vaccination sites for employees and students, while some municipalities have cancelled appointments due to shortages.

The country has recorded more than 796,800 COVID-19 cases and over 14,770 deaths. Only about 23% of the population has got at least one vaccination shot, although for people aged 65 and above, the rate is more than 60%.
Getting rather excited for this one now. :)