Due to the pandemic, Tokyo was forced to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, rescheduling them for 2021. Since the pandemic hasn’t abated, large gatherings are still discouraged, and we don’t know exactly when the world will return to normal, many still doubt whether the Games can be safely held in 2021. According to Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto, however, nothing will derail the Olympics next summer — not even COVID-19.
In a news conference Tuesday, reported by The Japan Times, he said, “I think we have to hold the games at any cost. I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates echoed Hashimoto’s sentiment, telling Agence France Presse, “These will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel. It will take place with or without COVID. The [Tokyo] Games will start on July 23 next year.”
Currently, Olympic organizers and Japanese government officials are focused on figuring out how to keep athletes and attendees safe during the games. That includes testing protocols, rules of behavior in the Olympic Village, rules for audience members, and how to contain potential outbreaks.
Despite the IOC’s firm statement, a survey from Kyodo News found that only 23.9 percent of Japanese people want to see the Olympic and Paralympic Games go ahead as scheduled in 2021.