It was Bach’s first meeting with Suga and his first trip to Japan since the Olympics were postponed almost eight months ago.
“In order to protect the Japanese people and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake great effort so that as many (people) as possible - Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here (with a) vaccine if by then a vaccine is available,” Bach said. “This makes us all very confident that we can have spectators in the Olympics stadium next year and that spectators will enjoy a safe environment.”
He has two days of non-stop meetings and photo opportunities with politicians and organizers in Tokyo, aimed at persuading the Japanese public that it’s safe to hold the Olympics during a pandemic.
The Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021. A possible vaccine was announced last week by Pfizer Inc., which could greatly help the IOC and local organizers stage the Olympics.
There have also been advances in rapid testing. All of this is taking place as cases around the world surge heading into the Northern Hemisphere winter. Bach travelled to Tokyo on a chartered flight. He called off a trip last month to South Korea because of the virus’ spread in Europe.
Some athletes and fans from abroad are almost certain to oppose any requirement to take the vaccine, which Bach has hinted previously could be almost mandatory for Olympic “solidarity”.
Japan has held baseball games recently with near-capacity crowds of 30,000 fans at some stadiums. It has also held an exhibition gymnastic meet with 22 athletes entering from abroad, attended by several