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Tokyo Olympics could be ‘scrapped’ if they can’t be held in 2021

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It’s too dangerous to hold the games without a vaccine, according to health officials.

OLY-2020-TOKYO-JPN Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics have already been delayed until July 2021, but officials in Japan are already thinking ahead to whether they can be held at all.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori will heed the advice of public health officials who are saying that holding the games without the global presence of a Covid-19 vaccine could be dangerous. There’s hope these drugs could be developed in time, but Japan is concerned that their own ability to control coronavirus could be compromised by a large influx of international athletes coming from countries where the pandemic isn’t under control — even by next summer.

Yoshitake Yokokura, president of the Japan Medical Association, called the prospect of holding the games without a vaccine “difficult,” sternly warning against rushing the games to hit a 2021 deadline. Medical experts are saying a true vaccine for Covid-19 could be available by mid-2021, but could be as much as two years off, rendering the future of the games in doubt.

Mori said that should health officials not approve of the games going ahead safely in 2021 there would be no further delay. Instead the Olympics would be “scrapped,” making them only the fourth games in history to be cancelled. The other three occasions, in 1916, 1940 and 1944 were due to World War I and World War II, respectively.

Should the games be cancelled, the wait for the Olympics would last until 2024, when Paris is set to host.