Olympics committee chief Thomas Bach is slated to arrive in Japan on July 8 as the Tokyo 2020 organisers are fine-tuning preparations for the pandemic-hit Games. Initially, Bach had been expected to visit Tokyo in May, however, the trip was cancelled owing to restrictions of the virus. Tokyo 2020 organisers said Bach would isolate for three days on arrival. They went on to add that the International Olympic Committee head has already been vaccinated.
Bach will visit Hiroshima on July 18 and it will coincide with the start of an Olympic truce, organisers added. The truce — which has been adopted by the United Nations — looks to ensure a halt to all hostilities and this will allow the safe passage and participation of athletes and spectators for the Games.
Apart from this, the IOC will also hold a board meeting in Tokyo from July 17 and a general meeting from 20 July. There is also a vote which is expected on Brisbane as 2032 Olympic host.
It should be mentioned here that ahead of Bach’s visit, COVID-19 cases are rising in Tokyo. On Wednesday, Tokyo reported 714 new cases — which is the highest in five weeks as well as the 11th straight day in Tokyo that cases are higher than they were seven days previously.
Apart from this, only about 12% of Japanese are fully vaccinated. A quasi-state of emergency will come to an end on July 12 with the possibility that government officials may have to reinstate another state of emergency which will be in force when the Olympics resume.
Japan is spending $15.4 billion on the Olympics, and although government audits suggest it’s much more. All but $6.7 billion is public money. In these Olympics, more than 200 countries and more than 11,000 athletes are expected to take part.