The 2020 Olympics have already been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. If there is not a COVID-19 vaccine by the time next summer rolls around, don't expect another postponement -- the games will still go on as planned, according to Tokyo Games CEO Toshiro Muto. Muto's comments came after meeting with government officials, disease experts and Japanese Olympic officials, according to the Associated Press.
Discussing a potential vaccine, here's whar Muto said:
"It's not a prerequisite. The International Olympic Committee and the WHO already discussed this matter. It's not a condition for the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games. A vaccine is not a requirement. Of course, if vaccines are developed we'll really appreciate it. And for Tokyo 2020 this will be great. But if you ask me if that's a condition — it's not a condition."
This meeting was the first of many high-level talks planned as the committee decides if it is possible to hold the games next year. With athletes, workers and fans coming from all over the world to watch the game and intense pre-planning needed, the committee will need to outline potential new protocols and how to deal with a possible lack of fans at events.
"As far as spectators, we don't have any conditions yet, but we'd like to avoid no spectators," Muto said.
An official plan for how the games will be run safely is set to be released to the public before the end of this year.
According to the AP, of 13,000 Japanese companies polled last month, 53.6% say they want the games postponed again next or just canceled altogether. The IOC has said that another postponement is not an option, and that if it came to that, the games would be canceled.
Japan has reported 1,334 deaths from COVID-19.