The Tokyo 2020 Games, scheduled to open earlier this year, have already been delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Muto told BBC Sports that organizers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of canceling or postponing it further.
“Everyone should focus on holding the event next year — we’re on the same page.” He said.
Toshiro Muto on Tokyo Olympics 2021
Muto said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was “not looking for” a Games held without any fans, but conceded smaller audiences might be possible.
“He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing,” Muto said.
“We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans,” he added.
Presently, Japan bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, in which Muto said that it was “too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways.”
Several medical experts have implied the Games will not be feasible without a confirmed treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Muto said a vaccine would be “a benefit… (but) not a precondition.”
Chairman of the Tokyo Coordination Committee John Coates squealed a positive note, saying the Games would go ahead with or without a vaccine.
Organisers were “going ahead on the basis there won’t be a vaccine,” Coates told the Australia newspaper
He added that they were prepared “under whatever scenario we have to face, which will become clearer at the end of the year.”
While speaking to Japan’s Kyodo news agency on Wednesday, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, warned that “containing the new coronavirus inside the capital is a prerequisite” for holding the Games.