Bach urges organisers to ignore Tokyo 2020 doubters as Coordination Commission meeting begins
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has urged organisers to focus on the preparations for next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo as a virtual Coordination Commission meeting got underway.
The Coordination Commission, chaired by IOC vice-president John Coates, is set to discuss ways to stage Tokyo 2020 during the pandemic with Tokyo city, Government officials and members of the Organising Committee.
Virtual meetings held today and tomorrow are expected to focus on simplification measures to reduce the cost of the postponed Games and coronavirus countermeasures.
Bach addressed organisers over a video conference call.
"We should not give in to people who are interested in putting pressure on us and ready to make an announcement to cancel now," he said, as reported by Kyodo News.
"This is not the appropriate time.
"We have to work diligently and work comprehensively and at the appropriate time take the right decisions."
Bach did not dismiss the magnitude of organising Tokyo 2020 with the threat of the coronavirus pandemic still existing, however.
"At this moment in time, the Governments around the world cannot even tell you what you will be allowed to do tomorrow or next week or where you can travel," he said.
"Nobody can expect from us that we know what needs to be done 10 months from now to ensure a safe environment for everybody.
"This is not only about the conditions in Japan and travelling to Japan.
"This is also concerning the conditions in the 205 other National Olympic Committees."
Earlier this week, Bach wrote a letter to the Olympic Movement where he stated his "confidence in our preparations" for Tokyo 2020.
Bach also mentioned "encouraging signals" coming from scientists which suggest a vaccine for COVID-19 could be developed as early as the end of the year.
"On the one hand, these recent weeks have shown that we can organise big sports events in a safe way even without a vaccine," Bach wrote.
"On the other hand, we have to realise that even testing methods and vaccines are not the 'silver bullet' that will solve all our problems."
In a report by Japanese news agency Kyodo News, Government sources claim Japan is planning to ease travel restrictions for foreign travellers from next month.
It is understood the Government is considering allowing about 1,000 foreigners to enter the country a day for stays of three months or longer, with increased testing capacity at airports to accommodate them.
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō also hinted the Japanese Government may relax entry restrictions to allow athletes to train during a 14-day quarantine period prior to Tokyo 2020.
Japan has seen more than 80,000 COVID-19 infections with a death toll of over 1,500 and has an entry ban for 159 countries and regions.