Tokyo 2020 ought to be held subsequent yr “at any value” given athletes’ efforts to be prepared, Japan’s Olympic minister mentioned Tuesday, a day after the IOC’s John Coates advised AFP that the postponed Video games would go forward in 2021 “with or with out Covid”. “For the Video games subsequent yr, athletes are persevering with to work onerous within the environments they discover themselves in. So I really feel we now have to carry it at any value,” Seiko Hashimoto mentioned when requested about Worldwide Olympic Committee vice-president Coates’s remarks.
“I feel Mr Coates felt reassured that the Tokyo Video games will be held with additional shut coordination of efforts,” she added.
Coates on Monday advised AFP in an unique interview that he was assured the delayed Video games would open as deliberate subsequent yr, vowing they would be the “Video games that conquered Covid”.
“It can take place with or without Covid. The Video games will begin on July 23 subsequent yr,” mentioned Coates, who heads the IOC’s Coordination Fee for the Tokyo Video games.
“The Video games have been going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Video games after the devastation of the tsunami,” he mentioned, referring to the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
“Now very a lot these would be the Video games that conquered Covid, the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel.”
A spokesman for the Tokyo 2020 organisers declined to remark instantly on whether or not they agreed with Coates’s assured evaluation.
However Masa Takaya mentioned the remarks confirmed “that the IOC group is absolutely dedicated to delivering the Video games subsequent yr”.
In a landmark choice, the 2020 Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus, and they’re now set to open on July 23, 2021.
However Japan’s borders are nonetheless largely closed to international guests and a vaccine is months and even years away, feeding hypothesis about whether or not the Video games are possible in any respect.
Officers have made clear that one other delay wouldn’t be doable, and there are indicators that public enthusiasm in Japan is waning.
A ballot this summer time discovered only one in 4 Japanese need them to go forward subsequent yr, with most backing both one other postponement or a cancellation.
A taskforce together with organisers and Japanese authorities officers that may develop coronavirus countermeasures met for the primary time this week.
Takaya mentioned the organisers would proceed “rigorously monitoring” the pandemic’s evolution and “make each effort in coordination with all related organisations to make sure a secure and safe Video games”.
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