Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also said that the Tokyo Olympics could not be held in 2021 unless the virus is contained.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said the Tokyo Olympics will have to be completely scrapped if they don’t take place next year. In March, the IOC and Japanese government had taken the decision to postpone the Olympics -- originally scheduled to start in July -- to next year.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also said that the multi-sport event could not be held in 2021 unless the virus is contained. Bach agreed with him and said he understood his position. “Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this, because you can’t forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an Organising Committee,” Bach told the BBC.
“You can’t every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You can’t have the athletes being in uncertainty.”
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Bach said the IOC was committed towards holding the Olympics next year, including a situation where the athletes will be asked to quarantine. “What could this mean for life in an Olympic Village?” he said. “All these different scenarios are under consideration and this is why I’m saying it’s a mammoth task, because there are so many different options that it’s not easy to address them (now). When we have a clear view on how the world will look on 23 July, 2021, then (we will) take the appropriate decisions.”
While these decisions are being considered at the higher echelons of the power structure, the Tokyo Games’ logo has come under the spotlight again -- with a satirical mock-up depicting logo as the new coronavirus pulled after Olympic organisers branded it “insensitive” and said it infringed copyright.
The design combined the distinctive, spiky image of the coronavirus cell with the blue-and-white Tokyo 2020 logo, and appeared on the front page of an in-house magazine published by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ).
FCCJ president Khaldon Azhari said on Thursday the club had decided to withdraw the image and remove it from its website after advice that its legal defence against a potential copyright breach was “not strong“.
“More importantly, we are all in this coronavirus crisis together and clearly the cover offended some people in our host country Japan,” said Azhari, voicing “sincere regret“.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Tokyo 2020’s chief spokesman Masa Takaya said it was ‘very disappointing to see the Games emblem being distorted and associated with the novel coronavirus, which affects human lives, the economy and our society’.
He said it was also an infringement of the copyright owned by Tokyo 2020, and revealed that top Olympic bosses had requested that the FCCJ remove the image. “I also have to say this is insensitive to many people being affected by this damaging and painful situation,” said Takaya.
Although the circulation of the magazine is tiny, this is not the first time Tokyo 2020 has become embroiled in a dispute over its logo.
It was forced to scrap its original emblem after claims of plagiarism from a Belgian designer, who said it was “virtually identical” to his logo for a theatre in Liege, eastern Belgium.
More than 17,100 people have been reported to have tested Covid-19 positive in Japan, with 797 deaths.
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