Tokyo: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president in charge of the postponed Tokyo Olympics said on Friday, the Games would open in just over two months even if the city and other parts of Japan were under a state of emergency because of rising COVID-19 cases.
John Coates, speaking from Australia in a virtual news conference with Tokyo organisers at the end of three days of meetings, said this would be the case even if local medical experts advised against holding the Olympics.
"The advice we have from the WHO (World Health Organisation) and all other scientific and medial advice that we have is that, all the measures we have outlined, all of those measures that we are undertaking are satisfactory and will ensure a safe and secure games in terms of health," Coates said.
"And that's the case whether there is a state of emergency or not."
Public opinion is Japan has been running at 60-80% against opening the Olympics on July 23, depending on how the question is phrased. Coates suggested public opinion might improve as more Japanese get fully vaccinated. That figure is now about 2%.
"If it doesn't then our position is that we have to make sure that we get on with our job,” Coates said. “And our job is to ensure these games are safe for all the participants and all the people of Japan."
IOC officials say they expect more than 80% of the residents of the Olympic Village, located on Tokyo Bay, to be vaccinated and be largely cut off from contact with the public. About 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes are expected to attend.