Japanese Sports Feds Want IOC & Tokyo 2020 Bosses To Make ‘Stop/Go’ Call This Year

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Around half of all Japanese sports federations want the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organisers to make a firm decide this year: go ahead with the Olympics as planned in July next year or cancel the event altogether.

In a Kyodo News survey, 35 national sports federations in Japan overseeing all competitions to be held in 33 disciplines at the Tokyo Olympic Games answered the survey conducted from the end of June to mid-July.

Seventeen Japanese sports federations said they would prefer a decision to be made this year: 10 of those answered “within this year,” while 6 chose “this autumn” and one opted for the urgency of “this summer”.

Only nine Japanese sports federations answered “by next spring” as a satisfactory time for the decision to be made in line with thinking at the Tokyo 2020 organising committee. The majority view, that there should be a decision this year to end the uncertainly, is known to have found favour with some at the IOC, Kyodo reports.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympics were delayed by a year to summer 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic but the world’s biggest sporting event may only be able to go ahead if the spread of COVID-19, still very much raging across the planet, is brought under control and researchers make progress in their ceaseless hunt for a vaccine and treatments against the virus.

There are now almost 18.5 million infections worldwide, the death rate stands at almost 700,000, with 11.6m having recovered, though many facing long-term health consequences was a result of the virus. More than 6m active cases include 2.2m in the United States, while numbers in Brazil and India are soaring too.

In the United States, infection rates continue  to cause alarm, running at 60,000 a day, while the death rate per head of population there is running at almost five times that of one of the relative success stories of a pandemic that has left no large nation untouched.

Another round of lockdowns have followed local spikes in Victoria, Australia and various places in Europe and Asia and experts continue to urge best-practice measures such as social distancing and hygiene controls such as washing and disinfecting hands and wearing masks, the latter proven to have been highly effective in relatively large case studies such as that in the town of Jena in Germany.

The longer it takes to bring the advance of the virus to heel, the greater risk to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games going ahead in any form, leadership figures in Japan having suggested that a Games without spectators is not viable.


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