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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 11 - 17  > Firm insistence upon 2020 Summer Olympics amid COVID-19 would damage reputation of Olympic movement
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2020 November 11 - 17 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Firm insistence upon 2020 Summer Olympics amid COVID-19 would damage reputation of Olympic movement

November 17, 2020
Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in talks with visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on November 16 expressed his determination to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics as proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic. The IOC president expressed his support to Suga’s determination.

At present, however, many countries are experiencing a rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases. Japan is also concerned about the surge of a “third wave” of infections. Under this circumstance, it is irresponsible and arrogant for PM Suga to show his eagerness to hold the Summer Games, which could damage the reputation of the Olympic movement.

At the press conference after the talks between Suga and Bach, many questions regarding the organization of the Games were raised from the press, such as “Whether the number of spectators will be reduced or not?” and “Whether to allow spectators from abroad to attend the Games?” Neither the IOC president nor Tokyo Organizing Committee officials gave clear answers to these questions. In addition, the organizers have yet to develop a concrete plan to protect athletes from all over the world from the coronavirus infection.

At the press conference, the IOC president insisted that the creation of a safe environment is a matter of top priority. However, when asked about how to achieve this, he waffled on this question and made a comment that it is up to the Tokyo Organizing Committee whether to require all participants to get vaccinated.

At a time when the pandemic continues, the main concern is that the IOC will make full use of medical and scientific knowledge to exercise its options on the Tokyo Olympics.

In May, IOC President Bach said that the IOC will decide on the opening of the 2020 Summer Games at the right time in accordance with advice from the WHO and the IOC working group. At the November 16 press conference, however, in response to a question about the “right timing”, the IOC president just said, “We bear the responsibility to hold the Olympics next July,” showing his stance to move forward with the 2020 Summer Games.

Given the fact that the IOC has never disclosed what issues were discussed with the WHO regarding the Tokyo Olympics, it is doubtful if the IOC will really fully utilize medical and scientific findings in making a decision on this matter.

Past related article:
> Opening of Tokyo Olympics next year will depend on coronavirus situation [July 23, 2020]
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