TOKYO (AP) – The, with less than 1% vaccinated, causing concern about the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to open in just over three months. , Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, said that even if the Olympics go on, the venues may be empty. This is partly because of the . , and it’s hard to imagine venues even half-filled with mostly unvaccinated fans. Many non-Japanese entering Japan are expected to be vaccinated.
Q: Are Japanese athletes being vaccinated?
A: This is a minefield for the organizers and the Japanese government. It will be very unpopular to push young, healthy athletes to the front of thewhen almost no one in Japan is vaccinated. Traffic on is vehemently opposed.
Kono, organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, andTamayo Marukawa said the government had not issued any plans to vaccinate athletes.
However, Kono has said he is ready to deliver vaccines if Hashimoto and the government think they’re needed.
So far, there is no consultation or no action about Japanese athletes getting the vaccine,” he said.
Marukawa said last week the month. The IOC has said to participate. However, IOC President Thomas Bach has openly . Of course, that causes conflict when athletes are a priority ahead of vulnerable populations.testing all athletes daily. Previous plans had called for every four days. That change may show up when the second version of the “Playbook” is published this
Q:will be safe and secure. Last the British Medical Journal challenged this. Who is responsible if they are not?
A: In an interview published online Sunday in the Japanese magazine “Number,” IOCJohn Coates responded to the question in an interview.
Coates quoted the magazine: “The responsibility for the response to spread of infections and contact between the Japanese public (and the athletes). The IOC is responsible for that aspect.”during, before and after the games lies with the Japanese government, and to a lesser extent with the Tokyo city government. Under an agreement with the government, the Tokyo government, and Tokyo organizers, the IOC is doing its best to keep the
Q: When will we likely know if local fans will be in venues? And if so, what will be the capacity?
A: Hashimoto has said forthat a decision could come this month on capacity at the venues. Now she seems to be hedging.
“Within April, I would like to set the basic direction,” she said Friday at her weekly. “The final judgment – this as well, we need to monitor the situation of the pandemic, and we need to remain flexible for that.”
Hashimoto did not raise Kono’s suggestion that there may be no fans and did not challenge it.
It seems increasingly likely that local fans could be banned, too, asin Japan‘s two most significant metropolitan areas – Tokyo and Osaka.
Ticket sales are worth about $800 million to local organizers. Any shortfall will have to be made up by Japanese government entities.
Q: Where do we stand with the, which started on March 25 from northeastern Fukushima prefecture?
A: It was run for twoweek in a largely empty city park in Osaka. The city’s mayor and prefectural governor forbade in the region.
Organizers say the torch will be retaken off public streets on Wednesday in Matsuyama City, in Ehime prefecture.
have also asked it be taken off public roads on May 1-2 in Japan’s southern island of Okinawa. It will be held there “in restricted areas without spectators,” organizers said.
Organizers said the relay on the smaller islands of Ishigaki, Miyakojima, and Zamami would go as scheduled.
Q: Is Bach headed back to Japan?
A: Local newshe will be in Hiroshima to meet the torch relay on May 17 or 18. He is expected to place flowers at the Peace Memorial Park in memory of the victims of the August 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city. The A-Bomb Dome could also be a backdrop for Bach.
He is also expected to meetofficials in Tokyo.