President of Tokyo Olympics Says Games Will '100%' Happen
The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics said the games will "100%" happen this summer, despite numerous setbacks over the past weeks.
"I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this," Seiko Hashimoto told The BBC. "The question right now is how are we going to have an even more safe and secure Games."
COVID-19 cases have been surging across Japan, with some prefectures facing lockdown until June 20, and thousands of volunteers quit only 50 days ahead of the Opening Ceremony.
Additionally, about 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers scheduled to work the Olympics and Paralympics have quit this week, ahead of the scheduled opening on July 23, Japan's NHK reported via Reuters. Though organizers did not say why the volunteers quit, many speculate that it is linked to the pandemic.
Hashimoto said the International Olympic Committee is preparing for several different scenarios in the coming weeks. If an outbreak were to occur during the Olympics, the games would likely continue without any spectators at all.
"We are trying to create as complete a bubble situation so we can create a safe and secure space for people who come in from overseas as well as people who are in Japan, the residents and citizens of Japan," Hashimoto said.
International fans are not permitted into the Olympics this year. Further, Hashimoto said that if the Japanese government bars travelers from certain countries from entering due to COVID-19 risks, athletes from that country will likely not be able to compete.
Last week, the first international Olympians arrived in Tokyo.
Many in Japan are against the Games because of the country's slow rollout of the vaccine, compared to others. Only about 3% of the adult population is vaccinated at this time. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to vaccinate the country's elderly population by the end of July, although it will likely be several more months until younger adults are vaccinated, too.