The Japanese government does not plan to make vaccination against coronavirus a condition for participation in the Tokyo Olympics.
“We plan to take comprehensive measures to organize a safe and secure Games even without making the vaccine a condition,” government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Tuesday.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has already repeatedly ruled out making vaccination mandatory for athletes.
Organizers, however, are pushing for as many athletes and people as possible who will travel to Tokyo to be vaccinated.
Approximately 11,000 athletes from around the world will participate in the Games, in addition to the thousands of officials and journalists who will also arrive in the Japanese capital. The question of whether or not there will be spectators has yet to be decided.
The Japanese authorities plan to start vaccinating the population at the end of February. This will be two months later than in some Western countries, because Japan wants to test the vaccine first on a national level.
The campaign will start with medical personnel. Then it will be the turn of people aged 65 or older at the end of March.
Thereafter, the vaccines will be extended to people with pre-existing conditions and those caring for the elderly.
The Olympic Games, originally scheduled for last year, have been postponed due to the pandemic. They are now scheduled from July 23 to August 8.
Japan declared a state of emergency in early January for the Greater Tokyo area and other departments due to the spread of coronavirus in recent weeks. Japan has recorded more than 330,000 contaminations so far and 4,500 deaths.