2020 tokyo olympics

Tokyo, IOC officials reiterate that the Olympics are on

By Stephen Wade

Tokyo Olympic organizers reiterated their message on Thursday at the start of two days of meetings with the International Olympic Committee: The 2020 Games will not be waylaid by the virus that is spreading from neighboring Chia.

"I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the games. Let me make that clear," organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said, speaking through an interpreter to dozens of top IOC officials gathered in Tokyo.

The Olympics open in just over five months, and the torch relay begins next month in Japan - a clear signal the games are getting close.

Although there have been no deaths in Japan attributed to the coronavirus, Tokyo and IOC officials are clearly jittery. Sitting among the officials this time was Dr Richard Budgett, the IOC's medical and scientific director.

Last week Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, said he was "seriously worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the games."

He backed down a day later and said he was confident the games would go forward, which is the message this time.

On Wednesday, the virus forced the cancellation of a Formula One race set for April in Shanghai, which draws more than 100,000 over a race weekend.

The Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series were rescheduled from April to October on Thursday, with organizers saying the decision was taken "in response to continued health concerns relating to" the outbreak of the virus. Also, t he SportAccord conference, an event with close ties to the Olympic movement, will not take place in Beijing in April as scheduled, organizers said Thursday.

The virus has also wiped out the indoor world track and field championships in Nanjing, golf tournaments, soccer matches, and almost all sports in China, including Olympic qualifying events. It is also keeping Chinese athletes from traveling to qualify, which could put their presence in Tokyo in jeopardy.

Saburo Kawabuchi, a former Olympian and the so-called mayor of the Olympic Village that will house 11,000 athletes and thousands more staff members, suggested Tokyo's hot and humid summer would stop the virus.

"The biggest concern is the coronavirus and the infection," he said, speaking in Japanese. "Currently we don't have any clue when this issue will be resolved. Based on various pieces of information we receive, it seems that this virus is not as strong as the influenza virus. The virus is susceptible to humidity and heat. In Japan, we have the rainy season which could defeat the virus."

John Coates, an IOC member who heads the regular inspection visits to Tokyo, said he expected to receive reports on the virus from the Japanese government, the Tokyo city government, and local organizers in order to see the "necessary precautions that are being taken."

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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And they will keep on telling this, until people finally believe that everything is ok and under control.

Didn't we hear those words too often on various occasions already?

Time will show.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

 In Japan, we have the rainy season which could defeat the virus."

A large part of the entire Asia has a rainy season. Maybe someone should put this dude out of his cave called "being Japanese".....

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Japanese fans will go so it doesn't matter if no one else turns up.

I've had friends already cancel so they get 100% refunds.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Singapore is hot and humid all year long, still it has 50 confirmed infections

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The virus is like “bring it on”

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And when the virus spreads like wildfire the Japanese are going to say "I don't know how it happend", while they bow in front of the media. Japan needs a federal quaritine law just like the United States has!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japanese fans will go so it doesn't matter if no one else turns up.

Yeah, right. Japan is spending billions of dollars for the Olympic and no or not enough foreigners turns up. Do you really believe the Olympic is all about sportsmanship and glory? Money plays a big part, too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting to see Australian John Coates on the panel there while his prime minister today announced a further 7 day ban on Chinese nationals entering Australia and the same day Michael Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme said

"I think it's way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo's hot and humid summer would stop the virus.

The irony! People were worrying about the hot and humid summer would hamper the Olympic and now they think it is a blessing. Life is so full of surprises!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Official expect less then 100 cases of coronavirus so it's ok..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

so, the highest authority on who gets to decide if it's in the country's best interest to hold the games are the organizers of the games?

the feb 24th~ mobile world congress in spain is being cancelled due to the virus and this is double the distance from the epicentre compared with tokyo. it's all well and good if you extrapolate down over the next 5 months but if you extrapolate up, things are going to get ugly. burying your head in the sand isn't a contingency. there needs to be someone willing to pull the plug on this without a vested interest.

or is keeping corporations and the bankers they are indebted to the most important thing here?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As the elite, world-wide, know all too well, especially in self-interested, authoritarian contexts ... 'it is better to ask forgiveness than permission'.

I sincerely hope we won't need a post-event ceremony to award IOC officials for 'best bow — with most sincere apology and regret'.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We still have no idea what this virus is capable of. It's new and not understood fully as yet. Claiming that the virus will be defeated when the weather warms is what is hoped and wished for but with no guarantees. The world is in uncharted territory, and at this point, we all need to fear the worst.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

At least the fencing athletes will be safe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What will they do if a large number of high profile athletes pull out? Like the US dream team basketball team? Or some of the soccer or baseball team's? Then let’s see what they have to say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Saburo Kawabuchi, a former Olympian and the so-called mayor of the Olympic Village that will house 11,000 athletes and thousands more staff members, suggested Tokyo's hot and humid summer would stop the virus.

It requires something like 70c to kill virii. The 35c+ of Tokyo in August, however, will be enough to kill some humans.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

By the time we get to about April, it will be clear. If it has become a pandemic and spread widely in other countries then it will be impossible to continue with the Games. In fact that will be the last thing on people’s minds as they struggle with travel bans and quarantines and trying to avoid catching it. The Olympics will be cancelled and we’ll meet again in Paris 2024. If by April the worst has passed then yes the show will probably go on. It’s just a little too early just yet to pull the plug but those worried faces in the photo tell us something.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Also, what if the Chinese team is denied entry as they are from a very infected area? Will they have to come to Japan at least 14 days early to sit in a hotel during quarantine?

The Russian team is already under suspicion and may not show up. Will this be a truncated Olympics? Or will they postpone it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they weren't worried there would have been no statement about not being worried

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I wouldn’t attend even if they gave away tickets for free which they will probably end up having to do. We’ll be over 1000 infected in a month if they refuse to block Chinese tourists from coming here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

October games looking better by the second

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan has little to fear, aside from decreased attendance from abroad.

The IOC is an organization focused on one thing: -not sport, not the public good- MONEY.

They stand to not make a whole lot of it if the Olympics are outright cancelled.

The Games will go on as planned.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maybe the people in the cruise ship in Yokohama should sunbathe in fresh air to prevent the virus from growing???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CDC - 8,200 deaths & 140,000 infections from the flu in the U.S. alone as of Jan 2020.

I'm not dismissing the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) I'm just saying maybe people need a little perspective.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now that the IOC has spoken, I'm staying as far away from the Olympic as I can. Given all the shamozzle so far, this game, every other game, all the bad blood, all the infighting, all the stuffups, thanks for the heads up guys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

UVB lamps, UVB lamps everywhere

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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