COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
The Tokyo Olympics are set to start on July 24 Photo: AFP/File
2020 tokyo olympics

IOC says no need for any drastic decisions on Tokyo Olympics


The International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it was not the time for "drastic decisions" over the staging of the Tokyo Olympics, which has not yet been postponed because of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive," the IOC said in a statement after its executive board met in Lausanne.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to run between July 24-Aug 9, but the year's biggest sporting event is as yet one of the sole sporting competitions to have survived a postponement in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that has caused more than 7,400 deaths and infected more than 180,000 around the world.

The IOC statement fell shortly after both this summer's Euro 2020 and Copa America tournaments were postponed by one year to 2021.

U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested the Japanese capital also postpone the Olympics for 12 months, although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded by pledging his country would host the Games as planned and saying he had no immediate intention to declare a state of emergency over the virus outbreak.

"This is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis," the IOC said.

IOC president Thomas Bach added: "The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern.

"All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community."

The IOC acknowledged preparations for the Tokyo Games had been impacted, and encouraged all athletes to continue training "as best they can".

"The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus."

One of the results of the virus outbreak has been the cancellation of qualifiers, in a number of sports, for the Tokyo Olympics.

But the IOC insisted it would work to surmount any difficulties that threw up.

"To date, 57 percent of the athletes are already qualified for the Games," it said. "For the remaining 43 percent of places, the IOC will work with the IFs (international federations) to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020."

The IOC vowed to "continue to act in a responsible way and have agreed the following overriding principles about the staging of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:

"1. To protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus. 2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport."

The IOC will continue to monitor the situation 24/7. Already in mid-February, a task force was set up .

The body added any decision it takes on the staging of the Games "will not be determined by financial interests, because thanks to its risk management policies and insurance it will in any case be able to continue its operations and accomplish its mission to organize the Olympic Games".

A task force (consisting of the IOC, the World Health Organization, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government) was created in mid-February to ensure "coordinated actions by all stakeholders" and offer guidance the IOC said it would follow.

Already, the format of all the test events in March and April in Japan has been "altered to allow for the testing of essential Games elements".

"The lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece and subsequent elements of the Torch Relay in Japan are being adapted, the entire Games preparation supply chain has been analyzed, and alternative plans are in place in the event of anticipated disruption," the IOC said.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Bringing together large numbers of people for what?

A sports event is not a good enough reason...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The IOC is committed to ensuring that its 5 star snout in the trough gravy train sporting circus produces the kind of return it's members so richly deserve...

13 ( +14 / -1 )

there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage

Deciding to go ahead with the games in the middle of a viral pandemic IS a drastic decision!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Pure madness and the shift of the european football championships means that the national leagues will resume sometime in May/ June and that means that the clubs will not release their -23 players for the Olympics. Nor the 3 allowed + 23 players per team.

besides that i get daily calls from worried managers, coaches, athletes.

2021 or no Games, the IOC is acting completely irresponsibly

10 ( +10 / -0 )

If the number of cases in Japan continues to grow at the rate it has done over the last 4 weeks (from 74 to 878 cases), then in mid-April it would rival today's count for Spain (over 10,000). If so, it should be clear enough to call off or postpone the Olympics.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

These guys at the IOC are vultures with a deep attachment on money rather than care to the health of the world population and athletes.

In Europe and America they responsibly shut every main sport event,even at the cost of the loss of billions of Euros and Dollars.

Shame on the IOC.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The IOC is simply living in denial while skirting responsibility. Just a matter of time before reality sets in.

Japan is about the only country among G7 that's successfully fending off the Coronavirus. 

By forcing doctors not to test people with symptoms? Is that the success you're referring to?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Corruption is a word that keeps coming to mind. Don't know why.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Continue training?! In their homes?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive,"

Read between the lines...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find all the discussion about the olympics happening rather pointless. The state of the world and Japan will be worse so, they can say they are going to have it as much as they want, and cite a million reasons why, but it simply will be impossible and no one would come anyhow, even competitors. The world will likely be in lockdown anyhow with few or no airlines flying . The virus is not going to be over by Olympic time, the only question is how bad will it be then. ( People are in delusion if they think Japan is somehow miraculously doing well) Qualifying events will never happen. It is a disaster to cancel it but a far bigger disaster will give them no choice. Blind Freddy could see this even weeks ago, and the powers to be insistence even now it is happening will just make them look like bigger fools when they cancel it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If the Olympics are postponed, I hope consideration is made for the people with reservations.

We had reservations to sail to Rome in April, and have lost thousands of dollars after deciding to cancel. We were going to sail there, stay at a hotel, see the sights, travel around a bit, enjoy the food, and then fly home. While our loss is nothing compared to what the people of Italy are going through, seems like it would be fair to allow people affected by cancellations to recoup as much of their losses as possible.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Its inevitable that they will postpone it for a year... the IOC knows this and they are just being morons by delaying this decision.

If they held it as scheduled no one would turn up (athletes and spectators) and it would be a fiscal disaster for Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan is about the only country among G7 that's successfully fending off the Coronavirus. The Olympics will be held as scheduled!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I'm now finding this pig headed insistance that the Olympics will go ahead as crass, tone deaf, ignorant and insensitive. There is a global crisis, there is death, sickness, people are losing loved ones and livlihoods. We are on the verge of a global recession. Shut up about the Olympics. Go away and shut up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Lords of the Rings are desperate for the income from broadcasting rights, especially US TV. They have to pay for their lifestyle.

What other global organisation in the small print stipulates and requires 'smiling, positive and welcoming staff at the airport', sports facilities (!) FOC for every IOC hotel guest and IOC staff member, as well as dedicated traffic lanes for their staff. (Ref: Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory and Practice By Stuart Murray - 2019)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NBC the Olympic broadcaster are covered by insurance if the games are cancelled or postponed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is about the only country among G7 that's successfully fending off the Coronavirus. The Olympics will be held as scheduled!

If by fending off you mean not testing people in order to keep numbers down then you are right.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The Tokyo Olympics need the other 150 countries and 11,000 athletes to participate.

Japan tests are about 12/ 1 million people. USA about 80 tests/1 million people. UK about 400 tests/1 million people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Please stay home when it comes to all leisure activities. Engage in social distancing, even with family members... except for the Olympics, there thousands upon thousands of spectators will be asked to sit centimeters apart, and athletes engage in contact sport such as wrestling and rugby! The virus will please cooperate and refrain from spreading at those times, or it will be regrettable!”

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Japanese authorities have chosen to test people at such a very rate to make appear there are not many cases. This keeps the rate of infection low over time and flattens the curve right out.

Artificially capping positive cases at just few dozen a day seems to be working and Japan is open for business as usual. Schools can stay open, social distancing is unnecessary, and the Olympics will go ahead as planned. There is no crisis in Japan, and people are happily going about their lives, while the rest of the empire burns.

Japan is looking forward to welcoming many people from around the world to the Olympics, and as part of this festivities, attendees will dance in stadiums celebrating how mankind conquered the virus by working together with all of our strength and determination. There will also be free bread for all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


These guys at the IOC are vultures with a deep attachment on money rather than care to the health of the world population and athletes.

Could not have said it better myself.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan is about the only country among G7 that's successfully fending off the Coronavirus. The Olympics will be held as scheduled!

Non sequitur much?

1 ( +1 / -0 )


There will also be free bread for all. you are talking!!! Circuses too?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We all know it'll be cancelled. Evidence? Japan tested over 3,400 yesterday.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


The Olympics itself is the circus :)))

Now, give me that bread!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


That's interesting! Is it because of the growing clusters and a policy of tracking down and testing associated individuals? Soon the clusters will begin to merge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Olympics example scenario - foreign spectators athletes staff planning to attend the Olympics will have to experience many risks to leave their country, fly 10+hours breathing recycled air that carries who knows what germs, arrive in Japan, encounter more risks - ride in trains busses breathe recycled air again, check in at hotel or air BNB, eat at restaurants where others may be contaminated, encounter millions of others attending the event. Imagine some come down with symptoms and go to a hospital. Many hospitals don't test but recommend testing elsewhere, that process takes time and is very difficult - case in point I'm 68, have lived since 1970's, am on Japanese health insurance, have atherosclerosis, 4 bypasses, 2 strokes, CKD have been under doctor care weekly since 2010. Was hospitalized a week in November. Since being discharged have had bronchial condition I believe I picked up in the hospital. I reported this to my doctors but because I don't have a fever I can't get tested! What if our foreign visitors get tested and the results are positive. They'll be quarantined for xx length of time - away from work family funds, won't be permitted to leave Japan for xx period of time.Who's gonna risk and pay for all of that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites