Tokyo exploring simplified Olympics

It may be necessary to stage a "simplified" Olympics next year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said yesterday, adding that organisers were already discussing possible changes.

Koike's comments came after the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported that various options, such as mandatory Covid-19 testing and having fewer spectators, were being considered.

She said: "We need to rationalise what needs to be rationalised and simplify what needs to be simplified."

John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) inspectorate for Tokyo, has said organisers had to plan for what could be a "very different" Olympics if there were no signs of the coronavirus being eradicated.

The Yomiuri, citing government and organising committee sources, said making polymerase chain reaction tests mandatory for all spectators - in addition to athletes and staff - and limiting movement in and out of the Athletes Village were among the options Japan would discuss with the IOC.

"The top priority is to avoid the worst scenario of cancelling the Games," an unnamed government source told the daily.

At a regular briefing, a Tokyo 2020 spokesman did not confirm details of the report, but said they were exploring ways to "optimise and streamline the scope".

Said the spokesman: "The spread of the novel coronavirus... is something very ambiguous and we have no ability to completely understand what the situation will look like next year."

The IOC and Japan government in March took the unprecedented decision to move the Games, which were initially scheduled to start next month, to July 2021.

IOC chief Thomas Bach said last month that 2021 was the "last option" for holding the Games, adding that they can't keep postponing it. - REUTERS, AFP