While it remains uncertain if the Olympics will happen next summer, the CEO of the Tokyo Games doesn't believe a vaccine for COVID-19 is necessary to have the event take place.
Per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today), Toshiro Muto said Friday that a vaccine is "not a prerequisite" to holding the Olympics in Tokyo:
"The International Olympic Committee and the WHO (World Health Organization) already discussed this matter. It's not a condition for the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games. A vaccine is not a requirement. Of course, if vaccines are developed we'll really appreciate it. And for Tokyo 2020 this will be great. But if you ask me if that's a condition—it's not a condition."
The 2020 Games were originally scheduled to take place from July 24 through Aug. 9, but had to be postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee announced on March 30 the event had been moved to July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5:
"The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented."
If the pandemic prevents the Olympics from taking place next summer, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori told reporters it will be scrapped instead of rescheduled a second time.
The AP noted a task force will continue to meet with local government officials, disease experts and Japanese Olympic officials "over the next several months" to discuss topics ranging from how to get athletes into the country, coronavirus testing protocols, how to keep venues and athletes' village safe and the potential of having fans in the stands.
This year marked the first time in history that an Olympics had to be postponed. The last time the Olympics were canceled was in 1940 due to World War II.