IOC Vice President Arrives in Tokyo for Final Olympic Preparation

Published June 15th, 2021 - 09:05 GMT
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) arrived in the Japanese capital on Tuesday ahead of the start of the Tokyo Games next month.

John Coates and his delegation plan to coordinate the final preparation for the Olympic games under coronavirus restrictions.

Coates, who leads the IOC's coordination commission, will be in quarantine with his delegation for the next three days, according to Deutsche press agency (dpa).

For the following 11 days their activities will be limited due to the pandemic, Japanese organizers said.

Ahead of Coates's arrival, some three dozen people with placards protested against the Games and called on him not to come.

Japan's Olympic organizers and the IOC have had trouble drumming up enthusiasm among the Japanese public for the Games, which are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8.

Tokyo is still in a coronavirus state of emergency until Sunday, but the government is weighing up whether to put the city under a quasi-emergency state during the Tokyo Games.

Coates said last month that the Tokyo Games could be held under emergency conditions, in comments that sparked a backlash in Japan.

The state of emergency in the country is not a rigid lockdown - restaurants should not serve alcohol and are supposed to close at 8 pm. Department stores and cinemas are also closing early. Large cultural and sporting events are allowed, but only with up to 5,000 people.

The Games will be held under very strict hygiene measures and coronavirus rules. They were already postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

At the recent G7 summit, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reaffirmed his determination to hold the Games regardless of the pandemic and widespread opposition among his country's population.

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