Japan says vaccination not a requirement to celebrate Olympics

Tokyo, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Japanese Government Spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Tuesday that the country’s widespread COVID-19 vaccination is not a mandatory requirement to continue with the celebration of the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.

The committee that works on the management and prevention of the disease at the Olympic event “is investigating so that the Olympic Games are safe even without the vaccine, for example, by carrying out the necessary tests and controlling behaviors” Kato said Tuesday at his daily press conference.

In what is one of the most direct comments on the matter by the Japanese government, the government spokesman said the group “will study the necessary measures in case of having the vaccine and without it,” reaffirming Japan’s intention to go ahead with the games.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Administration is adamant about the Olympics. And during the opening day of the parliamentary session on the eve Suga said the country remains committed to holding them, having already been postponed until July due to the pandemic.

The Japanese public has been showing more skepticism and, according to several polls recently carried out by local media, about 80 percent think they should be postponed again or canceled.

It was believed that the arrival of the vaccine would help improve prospects for the event, but the distribution and administration of doses is encountering obstacles in many countries.

Japan has not yet even approved the emergency use of any of the currently available vaccines, pending the completion of a local study on their efficacy among the Japanese.

The Government expects to have the approval of the vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer ready in February and to begin with the vaccination of health personnel at the end of that month, though public inoculation would not begin at least until March, according to initial plans. EFE-EPA


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