Plans change daily for postponed Tokyo Olympics

Plans change daily for postponed Tokyo Olympics
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Each day seems to bring another change to the Tokyo Olympics as surging coronavirus cases in Japan threaten planning for the games, which are to open in just over three months.

A leg of the torch relay on Wednesday was moved off the public streets in Matsuyama City in the Japanese prefecture of Ehime. It was to take place in a city park with "no spectators or stage performances," an organizing committee statement said.

This followed the torch being detoured last week in Osaka — Japan's second largest metropolitan area — and run only in a city park.

Some legs of the relay will also being taken off the public streets on May 1-2 on Japan's southern island of Okinawa.

Japan has attributed more than 9,600 deaths to COVID-19, good by global standards but poor by standards in Asia.

"If the coronavirus infection keeps getting worse, it's no time to be holding the Olympics," Kotaro Nagasaki, the governor of Yamanashi prefecture, said this week. Yamanashi is located just southwest of Tokyo and the home of famous Mt. Fuji.

Some test events are also being postponed or rescheduled. Many that are going forward are being held without athletes — so-called operational events — or with only Japanese athletes.

Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa last week said that all athletes might need to be tested daily.

Japan's Kyodo news agency on Tuesday reported that daily saliva tests for Olympic and Paralympic athletes are being planned, quoting "officials with knowledge of the planning."

This change is likely to appear in the second edition of the so-called "Playbook," which is to be published by the end of the month. These guides are put out by the IOC and so far have set out vague rules for 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and tens of thousands of others to follow when they enter Japan. Fans from abroad have been banned. Still unclear is if any local fans will be allowed to attend and, if so, what will be capacity at venues. A final edition of Playbook is to be published in June.

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