The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers are trying to convince the public that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will take place next year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said last week that the games could take place without a vaccine. This week, John Coates, the IOC member overseeing the Tokyo Olympics, said the Games would take place despite the pandemic.
Coates will appear in a virtual meeting with the IOC board on Wednesday. He is expected to be optimistic about Tokyo's prospects.
Several recent public opinion polls have shown that the Japanese public and business community are skeptical that the Games can – or should – go on.
The countdown to the Tokyo Olympics has started again. Today is still a year until the opening ceremony, which was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We can tell you that the IOC is fully committed to celebrating the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo next year," said organizing committee spokesman Masa Takaya on Tuesday. "We have started to formulate the concrete steps that we will take."
Representatives from the city, government and the Tokyo Olympics gathered for the first of a series of meetings last week to plan countermeasures against COVID-19. Japan has reported about 1,350 deaths from the coronavirus.
The panels will develop plans to deal with possible quarantines, entry of athletes into Japan, COVID-19 tests, measures to ensure the safety of venues, anti-virus measures in the athletes village and immigration issues. They will also consider whether fans will be admitted and whether there will not be Japanese fans among them.
The IOC and local organizers have said since the postponement five months ago that the Games will open on July 23, 2021. They took the same approach in March, just weeks before the Olympics were postponed.
According to Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021
The organizers and the IOC have revealed few details on how 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians will be safe in Tokyo, along with thousands of staff, as well as game and technical representatives.
Details are not expected until later in the year or early 2021.
Separately on Tuesday, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference that the Games should continue.
"I think we have to hold them no matter what," the Sankei News reported.
The organizers have yet to say what the one year postponement will cost or who will pay – with estimates running into billions. Oxford University released a study this week showing that the Tokyo Olympics are the most expensive in history, investigating the records since 1960.