Report: Tokyo 2020 Organizers to Convene Coronavirus Countermeasures Conference

The Olympic Rings in Tokyo Bay Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will meet next week to discuss coronavirus countermeasures for next summer’s Games for the first time, according to a report from Inside the Games.

The process will involve three parties: The government of Japan (including representatives of various agencies), the Tokyo Metropolitan government and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee. Health experts will also participate in the conference, which will work on devising strategies to conduct the Games next summer amidst the looming threat of COVID-19. The aim is for policy proposals by the end of the year.

Kyodo reports that Kazuhiro Sugita, Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, has been tabbed to lead the meetings.

Many sporting bodies have applied pressure on the organizing committee to commit to a decision on the fate of the Games this year, and some semblance of certainty would go a long way toward assuaging the concerns of sponsors. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 committee have already committed to a “simplified” Games in light of the delay and global challenges.

In addition to the public health challenges, border control is an issue that would need to be resolved. Japan currently restricts travel from more than 100 countries and regions, including the United States. Entrants are required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry. The committee would also presumably seek ways to have spectators at the Games, with Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori having come out explicitly against the idea of an event without spectators.

The 2020 Olympics were postponed in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have been rescheduled to begin July 23, 2021, but the progression of the global pandemic leaves questions as to whether the Games can proceed as planned even next summer.

Tokyo has seen 19,846 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, adding 236 new cases that day. Some 350 people in Tokyo have died of the disease. It’s largest increase in daily infections has been within the last month.

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