Japanese Olympic Minister Juyo Marukawa at a press conference. (Feb. 18, 2021)
Japan says Japanese athletes participating in the Tokyo Summer Olympics will not be vaccinated against China. Japan also had no prior knowledge of the agreement reached a day earlier between the International Olympic Committee and China for China to provide the vaccines needed for the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Japanese Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa said Friday (March 12) that the IOC had not yet communicated with Japan on the matter and that Japanese athletes could not receive foreign vaccines that were not approved by Japan. She stressed, “I don’t know if any Chinese company has submitted an application to The Japanese authorities for the use of the vaccine.”
Ms. Marukawa Juyo said that the safety program for the Olympics developed by the Japan Olympic Organizing Committee is to ensure the safety of people participating in the Olympics by taking a combination of measures, such as conducting tests, wearing masks and keeping social distance, without vaccines.
“Our principles – not predicated on vaccination – have not changed in any way,” she said.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach announced Thursday that China has offered to provide the vaccines needed for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Bach also said that all costs would be paid by the IOC.
Many Western countries and human rights organizations have determined that the mass persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist authorities constitutes a crime of genocide. More than 100 international human rights organizations have called on countries to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The IOC has made it clear in an implicit way that it is a sports organization and will not intervene in China’s domestic issues.
The IOC also initially encouraged, rather than required, vaccinations for people attending the games. But this deal with China shows a change in the IOC’s stance that it wants young, healthy athletes, and others who attend the sporting event, to be vaccinated.
The Chinese Communist Party is pushing vaccine diplomacy with full force, anchoring vaccines developed by two Chinese companies, Kexing Biologicals and Sinopharm Holdings. Experimental results show both vaccines are less effective than those developed in the United States and Western countries.
Bach said the IOC will do everything possible to get people who come to Japan for the games vaccinated.
Recent polls show that about 80 percent of Japanese say the Games should be postponed or canceled, and almost the same percentage of Japanese do not want foreign spectators to come to Japan to watch the Games.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8. The Paralympic Games are scheduled for Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. Both events have been postponed for a year because of the Epidemic.