Olympic chief Bach promises ‘safe’ Tokyo 2020 as record Covid-19 deaths in Japan fuel opposition to the Games
Olympic chiefs have attempted to calm an increasingly fretful Japanese public that the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games can take place safely this summer.
Covid-19 deaths and serious cases continue to reach new daily highs in Japan, the country’s health ministry said on Wednesday.
Tokyo and Osaka remain in a state of emergency, while the latest polls suggest more than 80 per cent of Japan opposes hosting the Olympics this year.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said there had been no evidence that Tokyo 2020 test events had spread the virus.
Bach added that more than three quarters of people in the athletes’ village would be vaccinated by the time the Games start on 23 July.
“Together with our Japanese partners and friends, I can only re-emphasise this full commitment of the IOC to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for everybody,” he said.
“To accomplish this, we are now fully focused on the delivery of the Olympic Games.”
A leading doctors’ organisation last week called on Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga to call off the Olympics due to a shortage of hospital beds.
Business leader Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of online retailer Rakuten, has called plans to proceed with the Games “a suicide mission”.
Japan has been slow to vaccinate its 126m population, with just 3.7 per cent receiving jabs so far.
It hopes to vaccinate most over-65s by the time Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to start.