Tokyo 2020: Japan wants to reassure the sports world despite state of emergency

The Olympic rings in Tokyo on December 1, 2020 Philip FONG AFP

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The city of Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures have been placed in a state of emergency.

Less than 200 days before the opening ceremony of the next Summer Games, the head of government, Yoshihide Suga, assures us that the current situation will in no way impact the great Olympic event.


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The start of 2021 has in no way erased the doubts that persist regarding the holding of the Tokyo Olympics next summer, even if the authorities want to be reassuring.

Indeed, from this Friday, January 8, the state of emergency declared by the Japanese government to deal with a clear upsurge in the coronavirus pandemic comes into force.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that this state of emergency will last for a month and will cover the greater Tokyo area.

Restaurants and bars are called upon to stop serving alcohol after 7:00 p.m. and to close their doors at 8:00 p.m.

It is recommended that residents avoid unnecessary outings at night and companies are encouraged to favor teleworking.

However, schools are not closed.

Safe and secure games according to the organizers

This declaration of emergency provides an opportunity to bring the Covid-19 situation under control and to ensure that Tokyo 2020 plans a safe and secure Games this summer, and we will make the necessary preparations accordingly,

 " the organizers said in a statement.

Yoshihide Suga also indicated that his country was committed to organizing the “

safe and secure 

Olympic Games 

, and he is convinced that public opinion, still wary, will change its mind when Japan begins its vaccination campaign, scheduled for from the end of February.

In recent months, multiple polls have reported that a majority of Japanese were in favor of a further postponement of the Olympics, or even an outright cancellation, due to the coronavirus.

For those responsible for Tokyo 2020, the state of emergency will not derail their plans.

They ruled out, as they have already done on several occasions, a further postponement of the Games, which were initially due to take place in 2020 and which were postponed for a year, from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

If Japan has been relatively spared so far by the pandemic, compared to other countries, with less than 3,900 officially registered deaths since January 2020, the country has suffered since last November a third wave much larger than the first two.

Nearly 7,500 new positive cases were identified Thursday nationally, including some 2,500 in Tokyo, two new records.

All athletes vaccinated?

But the Olympic movement is worried like the Canadian Dick Pound, member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC): according to remarks reported Thursday by the BBC, he said that he could not " 

be certain"

that the Games will take place. would unfold as planned due to the unknown on the






Earlier this week, the same Dick Pound said that athletes should be given high priority for the vaccine to ensure the Games can take place.

It's a decision that each country must make,

 " the Canadian official told Sky Sports on Wednesday.


 Some will say they skip the line, but I think that's the most realistic way to go 


Olympic torch exhibition canceled

IOC President Thomas Bach assured for his part that the organization " 

would make great efforts

 " to ensure that the maximum number of participants and spectators were vaccinated before the Games.


We were able to create health bubbles for all the major events, if we are to arrive at such a solution, I have no doubt that the IOC and the Tokyo organizing committee will take the necessary measures.

This is the solution that will be preferred to that of cancellation, 

”said the boss of French Olympic sport, Denis Masseglia, who does not want to be alarmed.

With the state of emergency in force, the authorities of the Japanese capital have decided to suspend the exhibition of Olympic and Paralympic torches for several weeks.

They were to be exhibited in 62 cities across the country.

The Olympic torch relay is due to start on March 25 in Fukushima prefecture,

Even before the vaccine announcement, the organizers unveiled a panoply of antivirus measures which, according to them, will allow the event to unfold even if the pandemic is not yet under control.

With AFP


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  • 2020 Olympics

  • Japan