Bach back in Japan after eight months: ‘Play light at the end of the tunnel’

Thomas Bach has set foot on Japanese soil for the first time since the Olympic Games were postponed eight months ago. He wants to support the people in the run-up to the global sporting event next summer. โ€œTogether we can make sure that the Games become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world is currently located.โ€

The head of the International Olympic Committee met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Sunday and welcomed the measures taken by the organizers and government officials to combat the coronavirus.

โ€œ We are keeping to the agreement to achieve safe Olympic Games,โ€ Suga promised. Bach added that the IOC will โ€œmake great effortsโ€ to ensure that as many participants and spectators as possible are vaccinated before travelling to Japan.

Toolbox

Bach still has full confidence that there will be a public presence in Tokyo. โ€œWe are, as it were, putting together a huge toolbox in which we stop all conceivable measures,โ€ Bach explained. โ€œNext year, we will be able to take the right measures out of the box and apply them so that we can guarantee a safe environment for all participants.โ€

With his visit to Japan, the IOC boss also hopes to win the trust of athletes, Japanese citizens and Olympic sponsors. The Japanese believe that the Games should be postponed once again, or even not at all, has been shown by polls.

But for the time being, there is no question of that. โ€œWe want to organise these Games as proof that humanity has defeated the coronavirus and they must become a symbol of reconstruction and recovery,โ€ said Prime Minister Suga.

Earlier, the Olympic organization announced that athletes who report for the Games next year in Tokyo will not have to be quarantined for two weeks. The Japanese are investigating the possibility of a mandatory corontest for athletes before they leave for Tokyo.

Events with audience

Tokyo wants to organise events with the public again from March. This is to show that it is safe to host the Games next summer. The opening ceremony of the Games is scheduled for Friday 23 July.