All national papers took up a series of meetings held yesterday between visiting IOC Chairman Bach and Prime Minister Suga, Tokyo Governor Koike, and other relevant officials, during which they all vowed to convene the Tokyo Olympics next summer as scheduled and allow Japanese and international spectators to watch the Games in person. Bach told the press after the sessions that the IOC is willing to foot the bill for administering vaccines for the novel coronavirus to some 70,000 to 80,000 foreign athletes and other Olympic officials who will visit Japan for the event. The GOJ is reportedly inclined to exempt ticket holders from countries that are not experiencing serious COVID-19 infection situations from the two-week quarantine requirement if they submit plans for their activities in Japan.
Yomiuri and Mainichi wrote that Bach and Suga were in sync on convening the Olympic Games “at all costs” because the IOC leader is anxious to cement his grip on power among IOC members ahead of the leadership election next March and the premier views the quadrennial international sports event as a way to boost the ailing Japanese economy. Holding the Olympics will also be crucial to ensuring his LDP presidential reelection bid in September 2021.
In a related story, Asahi said some Japanese Olympic officials are concerned over how projected President-elect Biden will view the Tokyo Games. They believe that if Biden is cautious about sending U.S. athletes to Japan on account of the COVID-19 outbreak, NBC, which is a major sponsor of the international sports event, may become hesitant about the plan to go ahead with the Games. They are also worried that some foreign athletes will voice reluctance or objections to visiting Japan amid the pandemic.