Tokyo Olympics organisers say they are not willing to see the event held behind closed doors - and that the Games "will take place this summer". International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said on 7 January there could be no guarantees of the postponed 2020 Games going ahead from 23 July. But a spokesman says it could even happen without the need for athletes or spectators to be vaccinated.
"Our position remains - we will deliver the Games," Masa Takaya said. "The IOC has made it is absolutely on the same page as Tokyo 2020." Sir Keith Mills, who was chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics, said he thought it was "unlikely "the Games will take place this summer. He reported that organisers should now be "making plans for a cancellation".
British Olympic Association chair and former sport minister Sir Hugh Robertson said he was "very optimistic" the Games would take place. "I've spoken to the IOC - everybody is working on the basis the Games will go ahead," he said. "There's been no talk of cancellation or postponement."
On whether athletes will be vaccinated for the Olympics, he added: "It wouldn't be appropriate to ask athletes to be fast-tracked. The BOA doesn't want to queue jump, but this will look very different in the spring." Takaya said that a decision on how many fans will be allowed inside venues in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic will be taken in March.
"We are not willing to see the Games taking place behind closed doors," he said. "We obviously want to see as many spectators as possible inside the venues, which is why we have been working tightly with the Japanese government and all international stakeholders, spearheaded by the IOC.
"We will see in spring how we can accommodate spectators inside the venues. We also have to see what guidance we get from the government regarding spectators and look at the situation around sports, both internationally and nationally." Takaya also dismissed a recent survey which suggested 80% of locals want the Games cancelled or postponed, saying that it was just one of a number of such polls.
"Most recent surveys show people want the Games to be re-postponed, but in that trend we see that people are willing to see the Games go ahead in some form, which is why we want to keep conveying how we are able organise the Games in this situation," he said.
Takaya said the Olympics could be delivered without mass vaccination, pointing out that "lots of sporting events are taking place in Japan" without one.
Japanese tennis players Shingo Kunieda, who lives in Tokyo, said that he thinks there's a 50% chance the Games don't go ahead now. "Globally, the situation is getting worse in some places rather than better, so all we can do is hope they find a way to make it happen safely."