Tokyo Olympics just beginning the race to reset themselves

Japan 2020

FILE – In this March 24, 2020, file photo, workers stand at the bottom of the Olympic rings at Tokyo’s Odaiba district. Just two months after the unprecedented postponement. Chief Executive Toshiro Muto was asked Thursday, May 28, 2020 about progress rescheduling next year’s Tokyo Olympics. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Just two months after the unprecedented Olympic postponement, organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto was asked Thursday about progress toward next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Games.

“If you ask, are we just around the first corner of the 400-meter race, I cannot answer that question,” said Muto, speaking through an interpreter during an online news conference. “But I can tell you this much. I do not feel we are late in our preparations. I do not feel we are being delayed in any way.”

But from listening to the limited details that Muto provided, preparations seem to be barely out of the starting blocks.

A former deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, Muto has spoken cautiously ever since the coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement and says little about progress. He said not to expect much solid news until planning reaches the “second phase” in the fall.

This includes who pays for the the delay, which is estimated in Japan at $2 billion to $6 billion, how to keep fans, staff and athletes safe from the coronavirus, and deal-making to secure the same 43 venues and the same competition schedule.

“Right now we don’t have any details or specific items that we can talk about,” he said. “We all agree that in addition to heat countermeasures, we will have to have coronavirus measures.”

In the last week, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and IOC member John Coates, who oversees preparations for Tokyo, have speculated more openly on how the games might be held.

In interviews, Bach has suggested a possible quarantine for athletes, floated the possibility of little fan access, and has not ruled out empty stadiums.

Coates, speaking last week at a News Corp Australia digital forum and reported in The Australian newspaper, was very frank.

“We’ve got real problems because we’ve got athletes having to come from 206 different nations,” Coates said.

He ran off the numbers: 11,000 Olympic athletes, 5,000 technical officials and coaches, 20,000 media, and 60,000 volunteers.

“There’s a lot of people,” Coates said, without even adding 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff.

Muto said October loomed — and Coates said the same thing — as a time when “many thing will come clear in the process.”

“October will be that point when we start the detailed discussions,” Muto said.

He said that excluded any decision about “go or not to go” on with the Olympics. Muto has always said the games are on, though Bach and Tokyo organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori agree they cannot be delayed again.

Another delay will mean a cancellation.

“This is a huge undertaking. This is a big job,” Muto said. “We have to do in one year and a few months something that had taken years of actual preparations to do. So there are so many things we have to review and decide in such a short time.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Stories

More Local News

Recent Videos

FURRY FRIENDS JULY 3

Thumbnail for the video titled "FURRY FRIENDS JULY 3"

NDC JULY 3

Thumbnail for the video titled "NDC JULY 3"

Babe Ruth Baseball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Babe Ruth Baseball"

Mandan Rodeo Days

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandan Rodeo Days"

Northwoods League

Thumbnail for the video titled "Northwoods League"

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 - KX Storm Team Nightly Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 - KX Storm Team Nightly Forecast - Dave Holder"

July 4 COVID Safety Reminders

Thumbnail for the video titled "July 4 COVID Safety Reminders"

DJGA Golf

Thumbnail for the video titled "DJGA Golf"

WWII Veteran

Thumbnail for the video titled "WWII Veteran"

Travel Plans

Thumbnail for the video titled "Travel Plans"

PPP Extension

Thumbnail for the video titled "PPP Extension"

Vision Zero

Thumbnail for the video titled "Vision Zero"

Update on Grape Experiments

Thumbnail for the video titled "Update on Grape Experiments"

Fraternal Order of Police

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fraternal Order of Police"

Police Complaints

Thumbnail for the video titled "Police Complaints"

Licenses for Kids

Thumbnail for the video titled "Licenses for Kids"

Summer Theatre on FB

Thumbnail for the video titled "Summer Theatre on FB"

LGBTQ+ Same Sex Marriage Vote to Come

Thumbnail for the video titled "LGBTQ+ Same Sex Marriage Vote to Come"

Sasy Lemonade Stand

Thumbnail for the video titled "Sasy Lemonade Stand"

Mandan Parade & Corso

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandan Parade & Corso"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss