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five months before the Tokyo Olympics Five open questions

The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled in the Japanese capital in five months, a period in which a series of key issues that will define the future of the event and the conditions for its participants must be resolved.

The Tokyo Olympic event has been surrounded by uncertainty for a year now, when as a result of the first phase of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, talk began of a possible cancellation or delay of the Games initially scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Now, 150 days after the lighting of the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, certain doubts remain in central aspects of the Games that the hosts will have to clear up as the countdown progresses.

WILL THERE BE GAMES?

The official message of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese hosts leaves no room for doubt and has maintained for months that the Games will be held yes or yes, despite the skepticism expressed by some voices inside and outside Japan and the rumors about the possible cancellation.

The organizing committee affirms that it has designed some Games capable of adapting to “any scenario” of the evolution of the pandemic and that at no time has a new delay or the definitive cancellation of the appointment been put on the table, which is scheduled to begin on 23 July.

The main doubts are now focused more on the logistics to carry out the Games in the midst of a pandemic, a circumstance that in addition to the enormous challenge that it entails has generated a growing popular rejection of the Japanese against holding the event.

WHAT WILL THE PANDEMIC JJOO BE LIKE?

The unprecedented format that the Tokyo Games will have begins to be glimpsed in the series of guides published by the hosts this month with the proposed measures to protect the health of athletes, representatives of sports federations and national committees and accredited media.

The measures are summarized in the confinement of the athletes within an anticovid “bubble”: they will not be able to leave the Olympic Village except to train and compete, they will be subjected to strict control of their activities and exhaustive PCR tests upon arrival in Japan and during their stay.

Athletes who test positive may be isolated in facilities designated by Japanese government authorities and will not be able to compete, while failure to comply with the rules established by the organization could result in disqualification.

These measures are “fully supported and trusted” by the Olympic family, according to Christophe Dubi, IOC executive director, at the end of a coordination meeting between the agency and the Japanese hosts last week.

Dubi admitted however that there is still “a lot of work to be done against the clock,” such as delving into the details for each sport and each venue, which will be revealed in later versions of the manuals.

SHOULD ATHLETES BE VACCINATED?

Both the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee have ruled out that the vaccination of athletes will be an essential requirement for their participation in the Games, although they strongly recommend that athletes be vaccinated and will take measures to promote it.

While the International Olympic Committee noted that it is not legally possible to force athletes to inoculate, the hosts have pointed out that getting vaccinated is “a contribution to the safe development of the Games” and a protection measure “for both athletes and athletes. for the Japanese people ”.

WILL THERE BE AN AUDIENCE IN THE GRADES?

For now it is not decided. The organizers have insisted on their intention to do so, albeit with some kind of restrictions, while IOC President Thomas Bach pointed out the need to “be flexible” and be willing to “make sacrifices” to ensure the safety of the games.

The Japanese authorities have considered the possibility that the competitions take place behind closed doors, according to local media published last month, when record numbers of infections were recorded as in other countries.

Competitions are currently held in Japan such as the national football and baseball leagues, the two most popular sports in the country, with the public in the stands, although entry is limited to 50% of the stadium capacity.

WILL FOREIGN VISITORS BE ADMITTED?

This is still an unknown question. The access of tourists to Japan has been prohibited for months in the framework of the border restrictions that the Japanese authorities put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, and which were further hardened at the end of last December.

The closure of borders could be relaxed in March for travelers with new business, study or residence visas, but at the moment it is unknown when the Asian country will allow the entry of tourists again, and if it will do so in the face of the Games.