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IOC chief says Tokyo Olympics to be held in summer as planned

Nikkei and Mainichi reported on a Kyodo News interview with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach on Thursday during which he voiced confidence that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this summer. He was quoted as saying: “We have at this moment no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games will not open in July in Tokyo. This is why there is no plan B.” However, he hinted at the possibility of reducing the number of spectators, saying: “The priority is safety…. The IOC has to be flexible and may need to make sacrifices to protect the lives of the people involved.”

 

Thursday evening’s Mainichi and Nikkei reprinted a separate Kyodo report saying that veteran IOC member Dick Pound said on Wednesday that the IOC has no intention to cancel the Tokyo Games this summer and that there is no reason why the games cannot go on despite pessimism over the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases worldwide. However, he added that it would be better to hold the Games without spectators than canceling them if the worldwide infection situation cannot be brought under control. He also said that allowing only residents in Japan to attend the events would be an option. He also said that the torch relay, set to start on March 25 in Fukushima Prefecture, could be shortened or canceled if necessary. Pound commented on the results of recent public opinion surveys in which a majority of respondents said it would be better to rethink the idea of Tokyo hosting the Games this summer. He said that people’s trust will grow if the Japanese authorities explain the situation more fully, so they should provide more accurate and specific information based on science about their measures against the virus.

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