Seiko Hashimoto, president of Tokyo 2020, has confirmed that the Olympics will still be taking place despite warning that the Games “must be prepared” for another coronavirus outbreak which would see no spectators at events.
Tokyo 2020 is set to start on July 23 with 50 days until the countdown to the opening ceremony. 10 areas of Japan are currently under a state of emergency as the country is tackling a fourth wave of coronavirus cases.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Hashimoto said, “I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this.
“The question right now is how are we going to have an even more safe and secure Games.
“The Japanese people are feeling very insecure and at the same time probably feel some frustration at us talking about the Olympics and I think that is giving rise to more voices opposing having the Games in Tokyo.
“The biggest challenge will be how we can control and manage the flow of people. If an outbreak should happen during the Games times that amounts to a crisis or an emergency situation then I believe we must be prepared to have these Games without any spectators.
“We are trying to create as complete a bubble situation as possible so we can create a safe and secure space for people who come in from overseas as well as people who are in Japan, the residents and citizens of Japan.”
Only fans from Japan will be permitted this summer both at the Olympics and the Paralympics which commences on August 24.
Since vaccines were introduced to the Japanese population only in February, just around 3% of people have received a full vaccination.
Hashimoto expressed her sadness in what was a “very painful decision” to have no overseas spectators in attendance, but one that was taken to ensure “a safe and secure Games”.
“[For many] athletes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they can compete in the Games. To not be able to have family members and friends who have supported them all along must be a very painful thing and that has caused me pain too,” she said.
Hashimoto also told BBC Sport, “Who can come to Japan is something the Japanese government will decide.
“If it should happen that a country cannot come to Japan because they do not meet the minimum requirements that the government set, I think that is something we have to listen to what the IOC and IPC feel about that.”