Are Japanese Olympic athletes vaccinated before the general public?


Tokyo (AP) — Vaccine deployment in Japan is very slow, with vaccination rates of less than 1%, and there are concerns about the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to begin in just over three months.

Minister Taro Kono, who is in charge of vaccine deployment, said last week that the venue could be empty even if the Olympics are held. This is partly due to the low vaccination rate.

Fans from abroad are already banned from participating in the Olympics, and it’s hard to imagine a venue half-filled with almost unvaccinated fans. Many foreigners entering Japan are expected to be vaccinated.

Q: Are Japanese athletes vaccinated?

A: This is the minefield of the organizer and the Japanese government. Pushing young and healthy athletes to the forefront of vaccination lines is very unpopular when few people are vaccinated in Japan. Traffic on social media is strongly opposed.

Seiko Hashimoto, chairman of the Organizing Committee and Tamayo Marukawa, Minister of the Olympic Games, said the government has not announced plans to vaccinate athletes so far.

However, Mr. Kono said that if Mr. Hashimoto and the government think they need a vaccine, they are ready to provide it.

“So far, there has been no consultation or action regarding vaccination by Japanese athletes,” he said.

Marukawa said last week that the government is considering testing all athletes daily. The previous plan required virus testing every four days. That change may appear when the second version of the Playbook is published this month.

The IOC states that vaccination participation is not mandatory. However, IOC President Thomas Bach has openly encouraged athletes to vaccinate. Of course, if athletes take precedence over vulnerable people, it causes conflict.

Q: The organizers in Tokyo have repeatedly said that the Olympic Games are safe and secure.last week British Medical Journal I challenged this. If not, who is responsible?

A: IOC Vice President John Coates answered this question in an interview published online in the Japanese magazine Number on Sunday.

Coates quoted the magazine as saying, “The Government of Japan is responsible for responding to COVID-19 during, before and after the match, and the Tokyo Municipal Government is also responsible, but based on an agreement with the Tokyo Municipal Government. The IOC, the organizer of Tokyo, is doing its best to minimize the spread of the infection and contact with the Japanese people (and athletes). The IOC is responsible for that aspect. “

Q: When do you know if there are local fans at the venue? If so, what about the capacity?

A: Mr. Hashimoto said that for weeks, a decision could be made this month about the capacity of the venue. Now she seems to be hedging.

“Within April I want to set a basic direction,” she said at a weekly press conference on Friday. “Last Judgment Time — Again, we need to monitor the pandemic situation and maintain the flexibility to do so.”

Hashimoto did not raise or disagree with Kono’s suggestion that he might not have fans.

With the surge in incidents in Japan’s two major metropolitan areas, Tokyo and Osaka, it seems likely that local fans will also be banned.

Ticket sales are worth about $ 800 million to local organizers. The shortfall needs to be filled by Japanese government agencies.

Q: Where is the torch relay that started on March 25th from northeastern Fukushima prefecture?

A: Last week it was run for two days in an almost empty city park in Osaka. The mayor and prefectural governor have banned operations on public roads due to the increasing number of incidents in the area.

According to the organizer, in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, torches will be removed from public roads again on Wednesday.

Local officials also asked to remove it from public roads from May 1-2 on the main island of South Okinawa, Japan. The organizer said in a statement that the event would be held “in an exclusion zone with no spectators.”

According to the organizer, the broadcast on Ishigaki Island, Miyako Island, and the small islands of Zamami Village will be carried out as scheduled.

Q: Will Bach return to Japan?

A: According to local news reports, he will be in Hiroshima to meet the Torch Relay on May 17th or 18th. He will place flowers in the Peace Memorial Park in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. city. The Atomic Bomb Dome can also be the background of Bach.

He is also expected to meet with the Japanese government and Olympic officials in Tokyo.

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