Local organizers announced a series of 18 test events on Friday that will begin in March and run into May.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place on Jan.. July 2021 after being postponed eight months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement in an online press conference came on the same day that the Tokyo metropolitan government reported a one-day record of 570 new coronavirus infections in the capital.
Although Japan has weathered the pandemic better than most other countries, cases have been down around 2 as of late. 000 deaths from COVID-19 rose sharply in a country of 125 million people.
Officials said at least four of the testing events will involve athletes from abroad, including tests in swimming, gymnastics, diving and volleyball.
An athletics meeting on 9. May in the new national stadium is listed as a test event. It is not clear whether foreign athletes will participate.
Hidemasa Nakamura, the game delivery officer, said none of the testing events will allow overseas fans, although some events will allow unspecified numbers of fans from Japan.
Some of the events won’t even involve athletes and will just test « surgeries » to cut expenses.
Japan recently held sporting events with fans. The last game of the Japan Series of Professional Baseball that week drew around 19. 000 fans in a stadium with 38. 000 seats in Fukuoka. And several thousand fans were able to take part in an international gymnastics event in Tokyo earlier this month.
« When it comes to the number of viewers, we have to respect the guidelines of the Japanese government, » said Yasuo Mori, who works with Nakamura on game delivery.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee’s announcement is the last in a campaign over the past few months to convince global audiences, sponsors and the Japanese public that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers will announce a « toolbox » of tentative countermeasures against COVID-19 next month, although likely vague and subject to many changes that will be made over the next year.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo this month to discuss the Games, admitted that much of the planning depends on the availability of vaccines and rapid tests.
He said they were not a « silver bullet » but would certainly be of help, along with social distancing, masks and quarantine-like conditions in the athletes’ village.
Bach said that athletes don’t need to take a vaccine. He said that young Olympic athletes were not a priority in front of millions of healthcare workers, the elderly and other vulnerable populations.
Bach suggested that the IOC would cover some of the cost of the vaccine but did not provide details as the cost continues to rise due to the postponement.
Tokyo officially spends $ 12. 6 billion for organizing the Olympics, though a government audit last year found it was likely double that.
Official players say a full number of 11. 000 Olympic athletes and 4. 400 Paralympic athletes will be admitted to Japan accompanied by tens of thousands of officials, judges, VIPs, sponsors, media and broadcasters.
Summer Olympic Games 2020, Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo
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