IOC's Bach says Tokyo Olympics will be held, not mulling «plan B»
TOKYO. KAZINFORM International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach voiced confidence Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this summer, saying there is «no plan B» even as doubts grow amid a sharp resurgence of coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital and elsewhere.
«We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,» Bach told Kyodo News in an exclusive online interview two days ahead of the six-month countdown toward the Olympics, Kyodo reports.
«This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful,» he said.
However, he hinted at the possibility of reducing the number of spectators, saying the IOC has to be «flexible» and may need to make «sacrifices» to protect the lives of the people involved.
«As I said, the priority is the safety. When it comes to safety, then there can be no taboo,» the IOC president said.
Japan has been preparing to hold the Summer Games with spectators -- even exempting from quarantine fans coming from countries with controlled virus conditions. The hosts, however, have said they will make a final decision by the end of spring whether to welcome spectators.
Japan and the IOC, as well as athletes, face mounting challenges ahead of them and many questions remain unanswered. The host nation has already ruled out the possibility of another postponement, leaving cancellation or opening on July 23 as the only options.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has insisted that the international mega sporting event will be held as scheduled as «proof that humanity defeated the coronavirus.»
However, Japan and many other countries have been facing a surge in infections, reporting more daily cases compared with 10 months ago when the games were postponed for one year, and increasing threats of new and more potentially contagious coronavirus variants.
Tokyo has logged more than 1,000 cases of daily infections in recent days, and some other areas in the country are now under a monthlong state of emergency, during which residents are requested to stay at home as much as possible and restaurants asked to close earlier.
This month, Japan suspended the entry of all nonresident foreign nationals, including athletes, until Feb. 7 -- the scheduled last day of the emergency -- as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.