Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, right, greets John Coates, chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, during a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool via AP

Tokyo Olympics: Many rules, no partying, no hanging around


Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics won't have the luxury of hanging around once they've wrapped up their event.

No late-night parties in the Athletes Village. No nights — or early mornings — on the town.

Instead of getting to know their global neighbors, Olympic athletes will be encouraged to leave Japan a day or two after they've finished competing.

From the opening ceremony to life in the village on Tokyo Bay, the postponed 2020 Olympics will be like no other. There'll be stringent rules and guidelines — and maybe vaccines and rapid testing — to pull off the games in the middle of a pandemic that has been blamed for more than 1 million deaths worldwide.

“Staying longer in the village increases the potential for problems,” John Coates, the IOC member in charge of overseeing Tokyo preparations, said Wednesday at a briefing for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Coates was asked if athletes would be discouraged from sightseeing, or looking around the city.

“Yes,” he replied simply, a short answer suggesting these Olympics will be all business with few frills.

Coates accompanied International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to Tokyo this week as he met Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and shored up support with key Japanese sponsors.

It was Bach's first visit to Japan since the Olympics were postponed in March.

Bach left Tokyo on Wednesday after two days of saying a vaccine was likely to be available and athletes would be strongly encouraged to take it.

Organizers and the IOC are growing confident they will have a vaccine and rapid testing. This will help, but dozens of other countermeasures will also be in place; social distancing, masks and bubbles in the venues and the Athletes Village.

Japan has controlled the virus reasonably well with about 1,900 deaths attributed to COVID-19. But almost 500 new cases were reported Wednesday in Tokyo, and more than 2,000 around Japan — both one-day records.

Cases are surging in the country just as optimism is also on the rise.

Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director, acknowledged much is still in the planning stages with many scenarios in play ahead of the scheduled opening on July 23, 2021.

“We don’t know what the situation will be next year, but some decisions will have to be made already in December," Dubi said, speaking remotely.

Coates said the opening ceremony would be restricted to only athletes and a maximum of six team officials. In the past, dozens of officials — at times 50, Coates said — were allowed to march, filling in for athletes who may have skipped in order to compete the next day.

“We won't do that this time,” Coates said. “That is just increasing the potential problem in the ceremony.”

Coates said all 206 countries would be represented in the opening ceremony, and a full contingent of 11,000 athletes will compete in the games. But the opening ceremony parade is likely to look smaller.

Officials are also wrestling with how to keep the opening ceremony from becoming a mass-spreading event, even if athletes are tested when they enter Japan and when they leave their home country.

“We don’t want to change the tradition of all athletes having the opportunity to parade in the opening ceremony,” Coates said, suggesting athletes might be tested as they entered the stadium, or in the tunnel as the come on to the track.

There are sure to be lots of rules. And athletes will be asked to follow them, as will thousands of officials, judges, media, VIPs and broadcasters who will need to enter Japan.

“I am absolutely sure that people will play by the rules and respect whatever guidelines are put in place," said International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons, who spoke remotely from Brazil. “Every stakeholder involved in the Olympics and Paralympics understands the importance.”

Bach and Coates have both said they want to have fans from abroad, which has yet to be confirmed. Bach said he expected a “reasonable number” of fans in the venues. But how many, and from where, is unclear.

“We hope we can give the opportunity to as many people as possible, including foreign spectators,” Coates said. “We want the families of the athletes who come from overseas to have an opportunity to see their children. That’s what the Olympics is about, and I hope it’s possible.”

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Cover your nose Mori

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Mori needs to cover his face, he's super high risk

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Sounds like it will attract SO MANY athletes, like “perform and get the hell out” will resound with so many nations. Seriously, don’t Japanese understand that their can be a middle way. Like, here are our designated watering holes, socially distance yourselves now! And besides, these people will have all tested negative so what is the issue?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Rules. Lockep up. No fun. Welcome to Japan.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Considering that the athlete's village usually ends up in an orgiastic two week party that's something out of a festival for Bacchus, I seriously doubt many of the athletes are going to pay attention to the rules. They'll just get their freaks on in their cardboard beds a little more quietly.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Play the games, make the advertisers money and go home! So now we finally see the whole purpose of the modern Olympic games.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

When not even the president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee knows how to wear a mask... we have a problem!

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Sounds like fun, those volunteers will be patrolling the halls and grounds leaping on any sign of laughter, fun. "Tokyo Olymipcs, no smiling, compete get out." Now that's going to be an enduring memory. Great PR.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Tokyo Olympics: Many rules, no partying, no hanging around

Why even bother then? Oh yeah. Money. Right. Forgot. Carry on.

Rules. Lockep up. No fun. Welcome to Japan.

Yup. Nothing new here.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Sounds really fun..

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This will be the kind of Olympics North Korea would hold.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

These two guys Mori and Coates care only about the business ignoring that we live in the middle of a world pandemic.

Even Japanese people are not so prone anymore to host the olympics,at least next year and not until this is over.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Mori's face mask looks like sagging pants.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Mori's face mask looks like sagging pants.

He Ensure-s it looks like that.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I've heard that the Olympics are a romp fest for the athletes in the Athlete's village. Hopefully they can have some fun there.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

these Olympics will be all business 

Except, of course, that the business of the Olympics is entertainment. Take that away and there is no business. Just a boondoggle.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Mori way, do as I say and not as I do.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

3 days of talk without any content, any real guidelines or information on ticketing, safety measures, or any other detail. We will.. we can.. but no HOW they will or can.

If Bach is not careful and insists on holding the games it will be such a PR and marketing disaster, even without too many positive cases, that most sponsors and the tv stations will pull out as most potential future hosts will already do for 2030 and 2032.

This was a very un professional and I’ll prepared visit that achieved exactly the opposite of what was intended . Or did it?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

These Olympics, day by day, are getting less and less interesting. No enthusiasm at all, except for the Olympic Committee.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The Japanese politicos can’t even wear masks properly so how can they be expected to run an international event?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Mori - incapable of even putting on a mask correctly, is assuring us that everything is fine.

And what's going on with his bandages right hand? Has he got a Keith Lemon-style gentleman's RSI condition?

Sitting in the trough, winking all day?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

United by Emotion

The Tokyo 2020 Games Motto, from The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,

and approved by the Lords of the Rings.

Very little emotion on display here, and looks like even less wil be felt during these 'Games'.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Why the heck hasn't Mori retired yet? Is he going to be directing the games from his deathbed?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

There must be reasons they are hiding to us. It is almost madness to hold the Olympics when our hands are full tackling the epidemic. People are living in great fear their lives and livelihood endangered.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I am one of the first to criticize people's competence or incompetence rather but I find it not done to make comments on Mori San's health. 

He is there of course out of personal pride and interest and to assure that he leaves as much as possible for his family and entourage when he does retire. He has picked his choice as Olympic Minister. And JOC President. 

That he fights to the last to have his Olympics happen he can not be blamed for wetter he should be left in a position to do so, that is another question but shows how strong a hold Mori San still has on Japans decision making.

I do not think Mori San is a very competent leader, nor as a politician or as a top sports executive but I must respect his personal achievements of getting and holding these positions even if he did, in my opinion again, not perform well in either.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

Take a look at the future: The elites get to fly in and out, skip quarantine, no hassle, gladhand, schmooze, live it up and then fly out again on private jets. The rest of you plebs get locked down, taxed up the wazoo, monitored 24/7, restricted movement and travel, and a list of prohibitions that grows by the day.

This is the great reset.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I can already visualize it. Depressed looking athletes competing without any effort, and just the olympic committee cheering in an absolute quiet and deserted stadium.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

All the negativity and moaning reminds me of how London was reacting before 2012. But, wow, once the Games kicked off - it really was something else. That said, not great for residents who were taken advantage of by their awful landlords...

And obviously, London didn't have the covid crisis to deal with.

Honestly, who knows where we'll all be next year. I hope a better place, in regards to health and happiness.

-19 ( +2 / -21 )

Think the biggest take away from this whole shimozol, is old men who wear their masks like their underpants need a mental check. And should have nothing to do with public funds. The Olymipics are a scam. And Atherletes are an after thought. No fun, no smiling, party like its 1919 don't bother unpacking you are going home tomorrow. Welcome to beautiful Japan...get out! purpose served.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

ironic headline indeed when Mori can't wear a mask properly

7 ( +7 / -0 )

...and to make it consequently and safe, no sports. lol

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Still so bad for Japan. Japan was really dealt some bad cards after putting so much money into the pot to host the Olympics.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Mori doesn't look a day older than 110. Fgs, put the ego aside and retire already.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

This is all a sick, sick joke. The joke is on us living in Japan, of course.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Tokyo Olympics: Many rules, no partying, no hanging around

Which means there won't be an Olympics because the international athletes won't show up.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

All the more reason to call the whole thing off.

The authorities are going to spin a story that ignores the bid corruption, the budget over-runs, and stadium problems and simply focuses on the Tokyo Olympics as a Covid-19 victim. I just hope no-one in Japan buys this and remembers that the problems started long before 2020. Say no to the 2030 Winter Olympics in Hokkaido.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

@Toasted Heretic

How dare you post something positive and optimistic. This is Japan Today!!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics won't have the luxury of hanging around once they've wrapped up their event.

No late-night parties in the Athletes Village. No nights — or early mornings — on the town.

Basically they want to to turn these young, exuberant athletes from around the world into the joyless entry level salarymen they regularly bully using the COVID-19 rationale disproportionately.

Work long hours, make money for the ojiisans and be quiet while we enjoy the fruits of your labor in our exclusive clubs.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

How dare you post something positive and optimistic. This is Japan Today!!

Indeed. Apparently at least 17 people don't want us to be healthy and happy. But, this is not a popularity contest. Am thinking of all those working on the project, who have put in all the time and effort. Many of them are foreign workers, and who knows how often they get to see their families?

-6 ( +4 / -10 )


-4 ( +1 / -5 )

No Olympics it best.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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