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Tokyo Olympic chief says test events will be held as scheduled

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-22 11:00
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Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto speaks during a news conference following the IOC Executive Board Meeting at the Tokyo 2020 headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, April 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - The Tokyo Olympic test events will be held from May 1 to 6 even if a fresh COVID-19 state of emergency is imposed in the Japanese capital, said Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto here on Wednesday.

After a virtual meeting with the IOC executive board, Hashimoto told a news conference, "The test events will be held as scheduled with or without the declaration of the state of emergency."

China, who is reigning Olympic women's volleyball champion, has been invited to play the host on May 1 and 2, and the all-conquering Chinese diving team is also expected to compete at the FINA Diving World Cup from May 1 to 6.

Hashimoto said that she and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto reported the worsening COVID-19 situation to IOC, which showed "understanding" to the hosts.

"We want to make sure that we must contain the spread of the virus as soon as possible," she said.

Muto also pledged, "We will take thorough countermeasures. We will deliver the Games."

Hashimoto revealed that they will not make a final decision in April on how many local spectators will be allowed to enter the venues.

After a five-party meeting in late February, it was initially decided that the decision would be made by the end of April.

Japanese news outlets reported earlier that the organizing committee is considering pushing the deciding date back to June.

Hashimoto said they need "a little more time" considering the changing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. But by the end of April, there will be a "solid" direction, she said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said earlier that he will make a formal decision in a matter of days on what would be the third emergency declaration of the pandemic.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is reportedly in discussions with the Japanese government to ask facilities, including amusement parks and department stores, to temporarily close, Kyodo news agency said.

Suga has said a fresh declaration would not affect the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, reiterating that the government will continue efforts to stage a "safe and secure" Games.

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