Tokyo Games chief: ‘Vaccine key to Olympics being held next year'

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23, 2021 — a year from Thursday. A small, 15-minute ceremony without fans is scheduled for Thursday at the new national stadium to mark the date.

Yoshiro Mori said he was hopeful the situation would improve and believed a vaccine was the key.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The delayed Tokyo Olympics could not be held next year if conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continue as they are, the president of the organizing committee said Wednesday.

In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, Yoshiro Mori said he was hopeful the situation would improve and believed a vaccine was the key.

“If this kind of situation (with COVID-19) continues, is it possible to hold the games?” Mori was asked by NHK.

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“If current situation continues, we couldn’t,” Mori replied, speaking in Japanese.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23, 2021 — a year from Thursday. A small, 15-minute ceremony without fans is scheduled for Thursday at the new national stadium to mark the date.

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organisers have repeatedly expressed confidence the games will take place, though they have offered few details on how they can happen in the middle of a pandemic.

The IOC and organisers have also said the Olympics will not be postponed again and would be cancelled.

“It would be too much for us to answer each of these hypothetical questions,” Mori said. “I don’t think this situation will last for another year.”

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Researchers have said a vaccine could be six-to-nine months away, which Mori said was the key. Some, however, question if young athletes should be a priority, and if all would agree to be vaccinated.

“Whether the Olympics can be done or not is about whether humanity can beat the coronavirus,” Mori said.

“Specifically, to develop a vaccine or drug is the first point.”

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