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Japan medical chief: Hosting Olympics without coronavirus vaccine would be difficult

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to summer 2021. The president of the Japan Medical Association has concerns.

Olympic rings monument at Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba, Tokyo. Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are still some concerns around the event. The president of the Japan Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said on Monday, “it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed.’’ He did not say if he opposed the Games taking place without a vaccine.

The president of Tokyo 2020 said that if the games were further postponed to 2022, they would be “scrapped” in Tokyo. Dr. Yokokura said that the Games would be possible only if the infections are under control globally, and not just in Japan.

“The key is a situation with the infections at that point [when the Games are planned]. If the infections are under control only in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the Games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world,’’ Yokokura said.

The general consensus on development of a successful vaccine is that it will take at least another year, with many thinking a longer timeframe is a lot more likely.