PM Suga and IOC president Bach confirm Tokyo Olympics will proceed as scheduled

Rest assured, Tokyo Olympics will go ahead as planned in summer 2021

Lim Chee Wah
Written by
Lim Chee Wah
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Tokyo
Tokyo National Stadium, Olympics Stadium
Photo: F11photo/Dreamstime

Since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics announced their postponement back in March, the organisers have since been busy trying to adapt the Games to make them safe but still enjoyable in this age of Covid-19. This is what we know for sure: the Games will be scaled down to cut cost, a new coronavirus health centre will be set up at the athletes’ village, and foreign spectators could be exempted from quarantine during the Games.

The uncertainty of the pandemic has fueled scepticism that the world’s most prestigious sporting event might not be able to proceed even with the year-long postponement. Well, here’s some good news. According to Kyodo News, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga agreed that the Tokyo Olympics will go on as planned next year. The Olympic Games is scheduled to open on July 23 2021.

This reassuring news came out of Bach’s current visit to Tokyo to discuss preparations for the Games. The four-day visit, his first since the postponement of the Games, started on Sunday November 15.

After his meeting with Suga, Bach also expressed that he is ‘very, very confident’ the Games will have spectators, as reported by The Japan Times. He also pledged that should a vaccine be available by July next year, the IOC will ‘undertake great efforts’ to ensure athletes, fans and others are able to get vaccinated before visiting Japan for the Games.

Safety measures for spectators will be drafted out by spring next year and it could include mandatory face masks, regular hand sanitising, temperature checks and possibly a ban on shouting or cheering.

So hold on to your tickets, if you’re lucky enough to snag some. However, if you can’t make it for the new dates, the Olympic organisers are now processing ticket refunds.

Stay up-to-date with our on-going reports on the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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