Tokyo announces a state of emergency, the Olympic Games are still on
Indeed, the Japanese capital and three of its neighboring prefectures, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, have been placed in a state of emergency from today until February 7. By that date, the city of Tokyo will have reached the six-month mark in preparation for its Olympic deadline, from July 23 to August 8, 2021. Games officials, however, were reassuring in their statement: "This declaration of emergency provides an opportunity to bring the Covid-19 situation under control and ensure that Tokyo 2020 can plan a safe Games this summer. We will make the necessary preparations accordingly".
The announcement of a state of emergency by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is a cause for concern, but he said Japan is committed to hosting a "safe and secure" Olympic Games. He is convinced that public opinion will be favorable once the Asian country gets the green light from local authorities and begins the vaccinations scheduled for the end of February. However, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound told the BBC that he "cannot be certain that the Games can really take place, because the worst thing would be another outbreak of the virus". He also added that athletes should be at the top of the vaccination lists and suggested that this should be a condition for entering Japan. It should be noted, however, that a few days earlier the IOC had stated that athletes would not be obliged to do so, while stressing that it is fully aligned with the International Paralympic Committee's commitment "to vaccinate as many foreign participants as possible before the Games".
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