İrem UZUN -TDO- International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President John Coates has declared the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead next year regardless of the coronavirus situation. Coates said the Games will start as planned on July 23 "with or without COVID", stressing the Olympics have never been cancelled outside of world wars.
The Games were originally scheduled to start in July 2020 but were postponed due to pandemic fears. The IOC had earlier said they would not delay the Games beyond 2021.
John Coates called the games as the "Games that conquered COVID-19". "The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami," 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."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said while he has not aware of the details of the comments from Coates, the government will continue discussing anti-virus measures for the Tokyo Olympics. “The government will continue to work closely with the organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government to hold the games in a safe way for both the athletes and spectators,” Suga, seen as the front-runner to succeed Abe as the next prime minister, told a briefing in Tokyo.
Virus experts have warned that the Olympics was unlikely to happen even in 2021 as the pandemic won’t be contained in time, and even if developed, a vaccine would take years to reach some of the poorer countries, Bloomberg reported. Speculation the games will be canceled had increased after IOC members hinted at that possibility to various media in May. In Japan, only one in four said they support holding the Games, according to an opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News in July.