TOKYO | Tokyo famous soberly the beginning of the countdown before its olympic Games, Thursday, a year to the day before their early set and then as the pandemic of sars coronavirus, which resulted in their report, casting doubt on their outfit.
The organizers have planned in the evening, a modest celebration in which the general public will be excluded, while the japanese capital faces a second wave of COVID-19.
It seems far away, the optimism of a year ago, when the Tokyo Games were still to be held in the summer of 2020, and that millions of Japanese enthusiasts flocked on the first tickets put on sale.
Today the public opinion of the japanese, fearing that the games do not disseminate further the COVID-19, wishes to mostly be a further postponement, or a cancellation of the whole event, according to several recent polls.
The organizers and the international olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that a second report would be excluded, due to the immense logistical headache and extra costs that that would entail.
In case of impossibility to hold the next year, the olympics in Tokyo would, therefore, be purely and simply cancelled, for the first time since the Second world War.
“Nobody knows what it will look like the world in July and August (2021). It is for this reason that we need to prepare for multiple scenarios” with the health of all participants as “high priority,” said last week the boss of the IOC Thomas Bach.
Crucial need of an vaccine
“These olympic Games could be an important step for the whole world”, as the first global event post-COVID, pleaded Mr. Bach, reluctant at the idea of JO without spectators.
At the end of April, the japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had stated that the games in Tokyo in 2021 would be the symbol of the “victory of humanity on the coronavirus”. But it was soon admitted that it would be difficult to organize if this “victory” was not acquired by then.
The historic decision to postpone for one year was taken at the end of march, while the pandemic coronavirus, part of China, forcing many countries to confine them, and made impossible the holding of olympic qualification and training of many athletes.
The restrictions have been lifted or reduced since then in Europe, but the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States, in Brazil or even in India.
And in many parts of the world, the resurgence of the virus encourages the authorities to reintroduce restrictions, sometimes going up to reconfinements located.
The advances in treatment are increasing, but getting a vaccine that is effective, safe and available at very large scale before the summer of 2021 remains a prospect still very uncertain.
However, having a vaccine or treatment will be crucial to allow the Games to be held, said on Wednesday the chairman of the organizing committee Yoshiro Mori.
“If the current situation continues, we will not be able to” organise the Games, ” added Mr. Mori.
Olympic venues reserved
Difficult to be very optimistic about the likelihood of being able to give the 23 July 2021 to Tokyo for the kick-off of a large mass sports inviting millions of spectators and tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, officials, members of the media and of the organization.
In spite of all, the organizers are focused on this goal, trying to solve one by one problems huge caused by the postponement of the games.
An important first step has recently been taken: all the olympic venues originally planned for 2020 could be reserved for next year, which has also allowed us to meet in the together with the original schedule of events.
Athletes can now “set concrete targets”, welcomed last week the sports director of the organizing committee Koji Murofushi.
But many other question marks remain, whether in respect of the counter-measures of the organizers in the face of the virus, the total cost of the postponement or even the maintenance of the initial commitments of the sponsors.
Moreover, the borders of Japan currently remain closed to citizens from 129 countries to protect the coronavirus. A policy is particularly restrictive, could also lessen the dimension of party world GAMES.