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Japan mulls simplifying Tokyo Games due to coronavirus

Japan is considering simplifying the format of next year's Tokyo Olympics as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, government sources said Thursday.

The changes could include a reduction in the number of spectators and a scaling back of the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympics, according to the sources.

The provision of medical services, including polymerase chain reaction tests for athletes, staff and spectators, and restrictions on outings from the athletes' village are also being floated as possible measures against the virus.

"We hope to work together with the government and the Tokyo organizing committee to look into what can be rationalized and simplified," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters. "It will be necessary in order to gain empathy and understanding from the public."

Organizing committee spokesman Masanori Takaya revealed that concrete measures to cope with the health threat would be taken up from this autumn.

"When it comes time to stage next year's games, the biggest issue will be our coronavirus countermeasures," he said.

The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government were forced to make an unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Olympics, initially due to begin July 24, for one year due to the outbreak of the virus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the Olympics and Paralympics should be held in a "complete form" and dismissed the option of reducing the scale of the games, which remains the government's ultimate aim.

But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday stopped short of clarifying whether the government is still sticking to its pledge.

"It is extremely important to host a secure and safe games for athletes and spectators," the top government spokesman told a press conference.

The sources said the Tokyo organizing committee and the IOC are already in discussions about revisions to their operational plans to reduce costs and adopt measures against the virus.

Without going into details, Japan's Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said, "We have to consider what should be done, including testing, to ensure security and safety" over preventive measures against viral infections.

The Olympics are slated to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 next year, with the Paralympic Games following between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5.

John Coates, who heads the IOC's coordination commission, said last month that October will be a critical period for assessing whether the Japanese capital can host the games next year as scheduled.

"The games can only happen in 2021. We can't postpone it again and we have to assume that there won't be a vaccine or, if there is a vaccine, it won't be sufficient to share around the world," The Australian newspaper quoted Coates as saying during a roundtable of sports executives organized by Australia's News Corp.

June 4,2020

News source: Kyodo news

Link to this article:https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/06/f85a8e5bfa07-breaking-news-japan-govt-mulls-simplifying-tokyo-olympics.html

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On 7/15/2020 at 9:37 PM, olympikfan said:

Don't rule out that Tokyo might get cancel. Its a strong possibility. If the world has a second wave and COVID can not be control . The Olympics are cancel. And if anyone thinks it wont happen the risks are very high.

Who is ruling it out and thinks it won't happen?

We have no idea what the world will look like 4 or 8 or 12 months from now.  It doesn't need to be said, not by Dick Pound or whoever in a forum, that the Olympics might get cancelled.  I think we all know that at this point.

However, if they don't get cancelled...Tokyo Olympic schedule remains the same, venues lined up

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Oxford is our only hope right now. Let's hope the vaccine happens very soon or that at least the virus mutates into a less dangerous strain. I just wish people weren't so goddamn stupid around the world and either wore masks or were efficient in government, then maybe this chaos wouldn't be as bad. This crisis has really exposed the worse of many.

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On 7/24/2020 at 4:06 PM, Ikarus360 said:

Oxford is our only hope right now. Let's hope the vaccine happens very soon or that at least the virus mutates into a less dangerous strain. I just wish people weren't so goddamn stupid around the world and either wore masks or were efficient in government, then maybe this chaos wouldn't be as bad. This crisis has really exposed the worse of many.

it's okay. you can say "americans," I agree lol.

  • Haha 1
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On 5/13/2020 at 6:24 AM, baron-pierreIV said:

I've already seen ads on Facebook for "official" Tokyo 2020 merchandise.  (I was going to buy a T-shirt, but when I clicked on it, it was obvious it had been blocked.)  So some suppliers are trying to unload their stuff illicitly now.  

I bought official Tokyo 2020 merchandise when I was in Tokyo 2 years ago. Little did I know.

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The fact WHO screwed up badly and some stupid people in our government says we have to use mask and avoid crowds and public places while they go to the beach and have fun until they're caught by a random person is not helping at all to stop anti maskers. And if you think they're bad, wait for the anti vaxxers later this year.

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Pfizer, BioNTech to supply 120m doses of virus vaccine to Japan

Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to supply Japan with 120 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine in the first half of 2021, the companies said on Friday.

The companies did not disclose the financial details of the agreement, but said terms were based on the volume of doses and the timing of the delivery.

The United States has signed a similar deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses for nearly $2 billion, which amounts to a $39 price tag for what is likely to be a two-dose treatment course.

There is no current vaccine for COVID-19. The disease has claimed 670,000 lives and upended economies, and there are over 150 vaccines in various stages of development against the still fast-spreading virus.

German biotech company BioNTech and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer on Monday began a large, late-stage trial of their vaccine candidate to demonstrate its efficacy.

Daiichi Sankyo is in discussions to provide supplies of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for use in Japan.

Assuming clinical success of the vaccines, Pfizer and BioNtech said they were on track to seek regulatory review for the vaccine as early as October.

Date:July 31, 2020

News source:Nikkei Asian Review

Link to this article:https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer-BioNTech-to-supply-120m-doses-of-virus-vaccine-to-Japan

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IOC President Thomas Bach to visit Tokyo to review Olympic preparations

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will visit Tokyo on Sunday for a review of the 2020 Games’ venues, the organization said Wednesday, and he is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga while in Japan.

Bach said in a news conference following an IOC board meeting that the possibility of canceling the summer games will not be on the agenda during his four-day stay, his first visit to the Japanese capital since the decision in March to postpone the games by one year.

“The he answer is no,” he said when asked whether cancellation will be discussed.

Though he did not confirm a meeting with Suga, Bach said he planned to visit the athletes’ village and the National Stadium, and speak to Japanese athletes when he travels on a charter jet with a small IOC delegation.

“The message I want to deliver to the Japanese people is that we are fully committed to the safe organization of the games,” he said at the press conference.

“This is the principle we have applied and this is the principle to which we remain committed: these games will happen in a safe environment.”

Bach also said that recent developments with regards to rapid COVID-19 testing and a potential vaccine give confidence the Olympics can be held safely next summer.

He declined to say whether there is a deadline by which it will be decided whether international spectators will be permitted to attend the Tokyo Olympics, but added the fact test events have been successfully held points to it being possible to safely have people in stadiums.

“I’m sorry that I will not be able to give you the exact number of spectators, but having seen now the different tests in Japan, I think we can become more and more confident that we will have a reasonable number of spectators,” Bach said.

“How many and under which conditions, again, depends very much on the future developments.”

The Olympics were originally scheduled for this past summer before the coronavirus pandemic pushed it back one year to July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.

Date:Nov 12, 2020

News source:The Japan Times

Link to this article:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2020/11/12/olympics/summer-olympics/ioc-president-thomas-bach-tokyo-visit/


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Organizers plan to hold 2020 Olympics with spectators next summer

Organizers are moving forward in lockstep with plans to host the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer with spectators, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Monday following a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Neither Bach nor Suga specified how many spectators will be allowed to attend Olympic and Paralympic sporting events, and the announcement came as Japan continues to grapple with what appears to be a third wave of coronavirus infections spurred by a nationwide surge that began in late October.

“Now we are all in during this coronavirus crisis,” Bach told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We are putting a really huge toolbox together in which we will put all the different measures we can imagine,” he said. “So that next year, at the appropriate time, we will be able to take the right tools out of this toolbox and apply them in order to ensure a safe environment for all participants in the games.”

While fears remain that COVID-19 won’t be under control by July 2021 — and that hosting the global sporting event during an ongoing pandemic would only exacerbate the situation — organizers are presenting an optimistic veneer, insisting the games will be the “light at the end of the tunnel” and symbolize the resilience of humankind.

Bach met with Suga and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike before kicking off a three-day project review meeting with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach touch elbows before a meeting on Monday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach touch elbows before a meeting on Monday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. 

“We are firmly committed to hosting the Tokyo Games next year,” Suga told reporters on Monday. “The tournament will serve as a signal to the world that humanity has conquered the virus, and that Japan has begun to recover from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.”

Plans are moving forward under the premise that spectators will be able to attend 2020 sporting events, Suga said.

While 2020 organizers have said the games will be held at all costs, it’s impossible to predict what condition the coronavirus outbreak will be in Japan eight months from now, much less what the rest of the world will look like. Though Suga has promised that all Japanese citizens will receive a vaccine free of charge during the first half of next year, a vaccine has yet to be produced, though encouraging signs are beginning to emerge. In addition, the Olympic and Paralympic Games attract travelers from all corners of the globe, all of whom would also need to be vaccinated.

In loosening border restrictions, the central government is prioritizing athletes looking to compete in the 2020 Games, as well as spectators from abroad hoping to attend.

Athletes will be exempted from entry restrictions, though they will still have to test negative for COVID-19, and will be asked to monitor their health for 72 hours before leaving their own country. Upon arrival, they will be tested again and have their movements monitored during their stay.

Officials are reportedly moving forward with plans to enforce similar restrictions on travelers from abroad looking to attend the games.

“We are making all possible efforts to ensure the safety of athletes planning to compete in the games and travelers looking to attend them,” Koike told Bach during a meeting at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Bach said he assumes a vaccine will be available by next summer, and that most travelers from abroad — “as many as possible” — will be vaccinated, tested and screened before entering Japan.

In early October, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced that room had been found to reduce the total budget of ¥1.35 trillion by ¥30 billion — or roughly 2% — under a “simplified” plan for the games that, among 52 total revisions, includes fewer spectators, shortened employment terms for organizing committee staff and fewer decorations at competition venues.

The ¥30 billion reduction, however, is a fraction of the additional cost unleashed by the one-year deferral, which organizers estimate could exceed ¥300 billion and push the total budget past ¥1.6 trillion.

Date:Nov 16, 2020

News source:The Japan Times

Link to this article:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/11/16/national/ioc-tokyo-olympics-thomas-bach/


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Olympic rings reinstalled in Tokyo Bay ahead of postponed games

A floating set of Olympic rings was reinstalled in Tokyo Bay on Tuesday, having been removed nearly four months earlier after the COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to postpone the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games by one year.

The 15-meter-tall, 69-ton structure — balanced atop a barge pulled upriver by a tugboat from a factory in Yokohama, where the display was built — was first installed in January to mark six months until the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.

Two months later, Japan made history as host nation of the first Olympiad ever rescheduled during peacetime.

The symbol was removed in early August for maintenance, according to the Tokyo Organising Committee.

Its reinstallation reflects their determination, for better or worse, to move forward in lockstep with other Olympic bodies and the government to hold the games next summer.

Planning is underway to hold the Tokyo Games in July 2021 despite the ever-present concern that hosting a global sporting event during an ongoing pandemic is a recipe for disaster.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, made a four-day visit to Tokyo in mid-November — his first to the country since the games were postponed in March — during which he made the case that, with rapid testing and a vaccine, the Olympic and Paralympic Games can be held next summer successfully and without reigniting the pandemic, if case numbers have dropped by then.

During Bach’s visit, officials and organizers made it clear that all parties are moving forward together to hold the games in eight months.

The 2020 symbol installed Tuesday will remain in place until after the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.

The games will officially begin when the Olympic torch relay sets off in March. Originally the torch was to travel through all 47 prefectures, in a nationwide tour that made its way to Tokyo for the opening ceremony in late July.

While organizers have announced a number of revisions in a “simplified” plan to hold the games with virus countermeasures and reduced spectator attendance, they have not said if the torch relay will be held, when or in what form.

Date:Dec 1, 2020

News source:The Japan Times

Link to this article:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/12/01/national/olympic-rings-tokyo/

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4 hours ago, olympikfan said:

Japan GDP = $4.872 trillion, 3rd highest in the world behind only the United States and China

Greece GDP = $203 billion, 51st highest in the world, slightly higher than Iraq and Algeria, slighly lower than New Zealand, Peru, and Romania

The 2 situations are not even remotely comparable.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/11/2021 at 8:07 PM, REDWHITEBLUE24 said:

I think they will be cancelled.

Not many of the athletes and officials will be vaccinated by August bar maybe Israeli and Danes as both countries are promising full adult vaccination by July

Its a very tough decision ... On one side the delay was already very expensive and it would be a pitty if they have to cancel it. But on the other hand this pandamic should be treated seriously. So your are presumably right.

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