Athletes, stakeholders, and fans the focus of Tokyo 2020 coronavirus countermeasures

Games coordination meetings on anti-COVID-19 measures get under way, summary to be reached by December.

By Shintaro Kano

Athletes, stakeholders and spectators will be the three pillars of discussions on COVID-19 countermeasures for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Following the inaugural meeting of the coordination team for coronavirus countermeasures on Friday (4 September), Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro said a provisional list of ideas to keep the Games in 2021 safe will be drawn up by the end of this year.

Muto said, "To organise a safe and sound Games, how we deal with the coronavirus is paramount. I cannot stress the importance of what we discuss here."

The meeting, held at the Prime Minister's Office, was chaired by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita Kazuhiro with Muto and Tokyo Vice Governor Tarao Mitsuchika in attendance.

The country's leading infectious disease experts and representatives from the Japanese Olympic and Paralympic Committees were also present.

Further meetings scheduled on COVID countermeasures

Muto said four more meetings are scheduled between now and the end of November.

The next is pencilled in for later this month, to discuss athletes, transportation, and border control.

The group will meet twice more in October when stakeholders, the Athletes' Village, and competition venues and municipalities will be the talking points.

In the final session in November, spectators will be the focus.

Muto says he has asked the government to finish the talks by December so that the necessary budget and manpower can be procured for Games running from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

He stated that the entire process will be held in consultation with the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, International Federations, and the World Health Organization, as well as other overseas bodies.

Muto added that the coordination team is closely monitoring sporting competitions held domestically and abroad for reference and hints, like the ongoing US Open tennis, and Japanese baseball and the J.League

"With the discussions we hope to have, I hope we can make athletes at home and from abroad feel safe at the Games next year." - Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro