Tokyo Olympic CEO: Vaccine not requirement to hold games

A vaccine is not a requirement for holding next year’s postponed Olympics and Paralympics, the CEO of the Tokyo Games said Friday.

Toshiro Muto was speaking after a task force meeting with government officials, disease experts and Japanese Olympic officials. It’s the first of several high-level meetings dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as Tokyo tries to figure out if it can hold the games. “It’s not a prerequisite,” Muto said of the vaccine.

“The International Olympic Committee and the WHO already discussed this matter. It’s not a condition for the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games. A vaccine is not a requirement. Of course, if vaccines are developed we’ll really appreciate it. And for Tokyo 2020 this will be great. But if you ask me if that’s a condition — it’s not a condition.”

The task force meetings over the next several months will deal with issue like getting athletes into Japan, COVID-19 testing, measures to keep venues safe, anti-virus measures at the Athletes’ Village, immigration issues and the status of fans.

A statement outlining the schedule of five meetings said an “interim summary is planned by approximately the end of 2020.”

“As far a spectators, we don’t have any conditions yet, but we’d like to avoid no spectators,” Muto said.

Japan is facing a major challenge, with the public skeptical the Olympics can take place — or should take place. Japan has already invested billions, and the delay is likely to cost billions more. Japan has reported about 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 but new cases in Tokyo have fallen in the last few weeks. The challenge will be bringing in athletes representing 206 nations and territories where COVID-19 conditions are vastly different.