Mon, 08 Mar 2021

SYDNEY, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates has refuted reports that the Tokyo Games could be canceled, saying on Friday there had been no discussion among organizers either to cancel or postpone the games.

Reports by British media claimed that Japanese government officials had concluded the COVID-19 pandemic would force the games to be canceled.

Coates, who is also President of the Australian Olympic Committee, told local media group, Fairfax, he had spoken with former Japanese Prime Minister and Tokyo 2021 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori on Thursday and that planning was very much on track.

"They're proceeding fully and (IOC President) Thomas Bach had a briefing of all the IOC members last night which was planned before Christmas and he's doing the NOC [National Olympic Committee] presidents tonight. That was the message he and I gave," Coates said.

"We're meeting with them on operational matters now as we move closer to the games. Then weekly we have, including last night, a meeting at the CEO level. There is no discussion on not proceeding in Japan."

Coates did however say that the prospect of spectators attending the games was still up in the air and would likely remain unclear until as late as May depending on the domestic and international COVID-19 situation.

"Our biggest thing at the moment is to make sure the Japanese public are kept safe," Coates said.

"They've got access to twice the number of [vaccine] doses than their population from three companies starting this month. So a lot of the decisions on venue capacity can be deferred to see the effect of that and the effect of the rollout around the world."

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