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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 to mark one year countdown to Olympics with video message

13:41 | 18/07/2020

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee will mark the one-year countdown to the postponed Olympic Games with a video message at the New National Stadium on Thursday, July 23.

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tokyo 2020 olympic games tokyo 2020 to mark one year countdown to olympics with video message
The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee will mark the one-year countdown to the postponed Olympic Games. Photo: Olimpic's official website 

The committee said that the message will show respect and gratitude for all those supporting the games and support for the athletes aiming to participate in the games which has been pushed back by one year due to the global spread of Covid-19, reported Xinhua.

The event, which is closed to the public, will take place at 8pm, the exact time when the Olympics will open on the night of July 23, 2021.

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until July 23, 2021 over the pandemic, and it remains unclear whether even that delay will be sufficient.

Last year, the city and organisers held a series of events to mark the one-year countdown, including unveiling the newly designed medals.

But given the global crisis, a similar celebration is unlikely this July, Kyodo news agency said, citing a source within the organising committee.

tokyo 2020 olympic games tokyo 2020 to mark one year countdown to olympics with video message
Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee CEO Toshiro Muto at a news conference in Tokyo on July 17, 2020. Photo: AFP

Kyodo said posters and messages of encouragement to athletes might be put up and displayed online instead, adding that the organising committee felt a more “moderate tone” was appropriate.

National broadcaster NHK, also citing committee sources, said there were concerns about holding large-scale events while the risk of infection remains.

The latest reports come after Tokyo's governor confirmed the city and organisers are looking at ways to scale back next year's Games.

Japanese media said streamlining plans could involve cutting the number of spectators and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Organisers and Tokyo officials face the twin headaches of ensuring the postponed Games can be held safely, given the pandemic, and keeping additional costs to a minimum. 

“We expect additional costs to occur in the future due to the need for COVID-19 countermeasures and related matters", Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said.

According to AP, before the postponement, Tokyo said it was officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics. But a national audit said the cost was twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori pledged on Friday (July 17) that the Japanese capital will host a "safe and secure" games although Tokyo's daily COVID-19 cases hit a new record of 293, following the previous day's record of 286.

tokyo 2020 olympic games tokyo 2020 to mark one year countdown to olympics with video message
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Friday, July 17, 2020. Photo: Tokyo 2020 Official YouTube Channel via AP

But with the pandemic continuing to rage in much of the world, it remains unclear whether the Games can be held next year. 

IOC chief Thomas Bach said last month that 2021 was the “last option” for holding the Tokyo Games, stressing that postponement cannot go on forever.

He declined to say whether a vaccine was a prerequisite for going ahead with the Olympics, but was lukewarm on the idea of holding them behind closed doors.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said it would be “difficult” to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympics if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained.

And Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has said the Olympics would have to be cancelled if the pandemic isn't under control by next year.

Muto said that Tokyo 2020 will begin discussions about countermeasures against COVID-19 in September and details are expected to be known at the end of this year.

"Around December we will have the general idea about what will have to be done," he said, quoted Xinhua.

tokyo 2020 olympic games tokyo 2020 to mark one year countdown to olympics with video message
In 2019, Tokyo and the organizers held a series of events to mark the one-year countdown, including unveiling the newly designed medals. But given the current global crisis, a similar celebration is unlikely this July. Photo: Getty Images
Tokyo 2020 is an upcoming international multi-sport event to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Originally scheduled to take place between 24 July and 9 August 2020, the Games were rescheduled for 23 July to 8 August 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being held in 2021, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will keep the name Tokyo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes. This is the first time that the Summer Olympic Games have been postponed rather than cancelled.
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