Plans for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games are growing more uncertain by the day.
As coronavirus cases rise throughout Japan in addition to also in several large countries in Europe in addition to also the Americas, officials both in Tokyo in addition to also with the International Olympic Committee have begun to acknowledge of which holding a safe Games might not be possible, endangering dreams of which the Olympics could serve as a global celebration of the end of the pandemic.
Instead, the I.O.C. may be forced to cancel the Olympics for initially since World War II. of which might be a huge financial blow to both the Olympic organization in addition to also Japan, which has spent more than $12 billion building stadiums in addition to also improving its infrastructure to prepare for the Games, in addition to also billions more to delay the event by a year.
For weeks, Japanese in addition to also Olympic officials have insisted of which the Games will go forward, in addition to also of which a further delay is actually not possible. Organizers have been trying to come up with plans to hold the Games in a manner acceptable to the Japanese public, announcing an array of safety measures.
although polls show an increasing wariness. In a survey conducted This particular month, the Japanese broadcaster NHK found of which nearly 80 percent of respondents believed the Games should be postponed again or canceled entirely. In October, less than half of respondents said of which. The figure rose to 71 percent in December.
On Friday, Taro Kono, a member of Japan’s cabinet, broke with his government’s official line, saying the Games “could go either way,” according to a report by Reuters.
His remarks followed similar comments This particular week by the Canadian Dick Pound, the longest-serving I.O.C. member, who told the BBC of which there was “no guarantee” of which the Games might take place.
Organizers in Tokyo in addition to also at the I.O.C. agreed in March to postpone the Games for one year. The biennial sports festival, the globe’s largest, was supposed to take place last July in addition to also August. The opening ceremony for the Summer Games is actually at This particular point scheduled for July 23.
Thomas Bach, the president of the I.O.C., has said of which postponing the Games again is actually not an option, in addition to also of which if the event cannot take place This particular summer, the item will not happen at all. Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, reaffirmed of which position This particular week. The I.O.C. has already awarded the 2024 Summer Games to Paris in addition to also the 2028 Summer Games to Los Angeles.
Hopes for the Games had risen as several major sporting events were held around the globe without major problems, albeit on a much smaller scale in addition to also with few or no fans in attendance.
For at This particular point, Japan is actually vowing to press ahead with preparations. Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo organizing committee, tried to reassure staff members in a speech on Tuesday.
“Spring will definitely come,” he said. “After a long night, there will definitely be a morning. Believing so, I might like to work hard to the end to ensure we can give joy in addition to also trust to many people.”
of which echoed the vision Mr. Bach described in a brand new Year’s address, when he said he viewed the Tokyo Games as the “light at the end of the tunnel” of the pandemic. He hailed the quick development of vaccines for providing trust of which the Games could be safe.
“They will be a celebration of solidarity, of unity of humankind in all our diversity, in addition to also of resilience,” Mr. Bach said.
The rollout of the vaccines has been slower than expected, however, in addition to also much of humanity will remain unvaccinated by This particular summer. Japan does not plan to begin vaccinating its citizens until late February, a process of which will take months.
According to people who have been briefed on the strategy, the I.O.C. in addition to also Tokyo organizers are not factoring the vaccines into their plans for the Games, instead assuming of which many of the roughly 10,000 athletes — in addition to also tens of thousands of coaches in addition to also officials traveling to the Games — will not have received vaccination. Officials say requiring athletes to be vaccinated is actually not realistic.
the item is actually not yet clear whether organizers might allow spectators to attend the Games, or travel via outside Japan for the Olympics. Japan has instituted a travel ban for all international visitors of which is actually scheduled to end Feb. 7, although the item could be extended. Elite athletes are no longer exempt via the item.
Holding the Games has been a priority for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, who in September replaced Shinzo Abe, the main force behind the effort to bring the Olympics back to Tokyo for initially since 1964.
As concern about hosting the Games grows, officials have begun to form plans to address the danger of bringing so many visitors to a country of which is actually experiencing its most rapid spread of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
While Japan, a country of more than 125 million people, has recorded just over 300,000 cases in addition to also 4,0 deaths — far fewer than many Western countries — the item has had record caseloads in addition to also death tolls in recent days. the item reported more than 6,000 brand new cases on Thursday.
Seiko Hashimoto, the Olympics minister for Japan, told reporters on Tuesday of which organizers were examining “comprehensive anti-infection measures, including necessary checkups in addition to also tracking management to ensure we can hold safe in addition to also secure Games without vaccination as precondition.”
Officials have proposed screening in addition to also testing visitors upon arrival. Athletes may be subject to multiple tests, in addition to also their movements may be limited. They may have to leave the Olympic Village as soon as they are finished competing, in addition to also may be restricted in whom they can associate with while in Tokyo.
During a recent conference call with officials via national Olympic committees, Lucia Montanarella, head of Olympic Games media operations for the I.O.C., said press access to athletes could be severely curtailed. Journalists may be subject to location tracing in addition to also be prohibited via traveling anywhere in Tokyo some other than to in addition to also via their hotels, Olympic venues in addition to also the main media centers.
Hisako Ueno in addition to also Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.