Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and the IOC are due to unveil new plans this week to explain how 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can compete in Japan when the Games open three months later in the midst of a pandemic.
The launch of the second edition of Playbooks, an IOC manual explaining how games can be downloaded, comes when Tokyo, Osaka and several other areas are placed under a third state of emergency as coronavirus cases increase.
Japan, which has attributed about 10,000 deaths to COVID-19, has also been slow with local vaccination by about 1% so far, having received photos.
Organizers are expected to announce daily tests for athletes. The 14-day quarantine requirements are also expected to be lifted, which will allow athletes to train when they arrive. Competitors will have to stay in a “balloon” consisting of the Olympic Village in Tokyo Bay, places and training areas.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing unnamed sources, said the athletes and employees would have to be tested twice within 96 hours before leaving home. They will also be tested upon arrival in Japan.
The Playbook for Athletes will be updated on Wednesday, and the Playbooks for Media and others will be unveiled on Friday. The first edition, published in February, was unclear and there are doubts that the latest editions will offer much specificity.
The final edition of all Playbooks will be published in June.
Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the organizing committee in Tokyo, said on Monday that 500 nurses were wanted for the games.
“Of course, this is based on the premise that it will not have a negative effect on the local health system,” Muto said, although he did not say whether research has been done in this area.
Resistance against the Olympic Games in Japan is still high, with 70-80% against in recent polls. Fans from abroad are already banned and organizers are postponing until June the decision to have fans at all at the Olympic venues.
Taro Kono, the minister responsible for vaccination in Japan, suggested earlier this month that vacancies were a possible possibility.
IOC President Thomas Bach said last week that his plans to meet with the torch in Hiroshima on May 17-18 have not yet been confirmed. Bach’s arrival will be just days after the end of the last state of emergency on May 11.
Opposition lawmakers in Japan’s national legislature are proposing that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga schedule a state of emergency to house Bach.
The government and the International Olympic Committee said the precautions were in place specifically for Japan’s Golden Week holiday, which begins on Thursday.
The torch relay, which began on March 25 in Fukushima in northeastern Japan, was bypassed several times this month and was forced to run in an empty city park in Osaka. He was also reassigned to Matsuyama City Ehime Prefecture.
It will be completely banned this weekend on Mikiakima Island in Okinawa. The small island has only one hospital. The relay will pass through other places in Okinawa.
The heavily sponsored relay is a caravan of more than a dozen cars and other vehicles adorned with advertising from major sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Toyota. Torchbearers – there are a total of 10,000 – usually raise their backs to the background of hectic music and DJ banter.
The relay is due to end at the National Stadium on July 23 for the opening ceremony of the Games in Tokyo.