Japan now thinking of “simplified’’ Olympic Games —- Tokyo governor – Gist Vile

Tokyo city’s Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday it might be necessary to a stage a “simplified” Olympics next year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Koike said organisers were already discussing possible changes.

His comments came after a newspaper in Japan reported that various options, such as mandatory coronavirus testing and having fewer spectators, were being considered by organisers.

John Coates, head of the inspectorate set up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for Tokyo, has said organisers had to plan for what could be a “very different” Olympics.

He said this was necessary if there were no signs of COVID-19 being eradicated.

“Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people,” Koike told reporters.

“For that, we need to rationalise what needs to be rationalised and simplify what needs to be simplified.”

The Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri, cited government and organising committee sources.

The options being considered include making Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests mandatory for all spectators — in addition to athletes and staff.

Another one is that of limiting movement in and out of the athletes village.

These were among the options Japan would discuss with the IOC.

At a regular briefing, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya did not confirm the details of the Yomiuri report.

But he said stakeholders were looking at ways to “optimise and streamline the scope and service levels in preparing for the Games”.

“At this stage, we have no concrete outcome yet. But we are keen to continue the discussions,” said Takaya.

“The spread of the novel coronavirus … is something very ambiguous and we have no ability to completely understand what the situation will look like next year.”

The IOC and Japanese government in March took the unprecedented decision to delay the Games, which had been due to start in July.

A further delay beyond 2021 has been ruled out.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 6.4 million people and killed about 380,000 around the world.

Japan has had some 17,000 infections and 900 known deaths to date.

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