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Tokyo Olympics will have fans: IOC chief Thomas Bach

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach said yesterday he is "very, very confident" that fans will attend next year's Tokyo Olympics, as he kicked off a Japan trip to boost momentum for the pandemic-postponed Games.

Spiralling infections and new lockdowns globally have renewed scepticism that the international event will be possible if the pandemic is not under control by opening day, now scheduled for July 23 next year.

But organisers and Japanese officials have insisted that they can hold the event, and are drawing up a raft of Covid-19 counter-measures intended to make the Games safe even if the pandemic is not over.

"We are putting really a huge tool box together in which we will put all the different measures we can imagine," Bach said, after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for talks that began with the two masked men fist-bumping for the cameras.

"This makes us all very, very confident that we can have spectators in the Olympic stadia next year," added Bach, who is president of the IOC.

He also pledged that the IOC would "undertake great efforts" to make sure as many participants and spectators as possible are vaccinated before arriving in Japan, if a vaccine is available by next summer.

Polls show a majority of Japan's public believe the Games should be postponed further, or cancelled altogether. - AFP