Sport Virus delay, sexism row: Tokyo's turbulent Olympic timeline
Tokyo Olympics Organizers Unveil Their Pandemic Playbook
The organizers of the delayed Tokyo Olympics unveiled a set of rules governing how teams move about and interact in order to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 pathogen, assuming that the games will go ahead this summer as planned. © Photographer: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games logo Coronavirus tests will be conducted before and after arrival in Japan and then at least every four days, with movements in the country limited to a pre-determined plan, according to the first version of the “Playbook” unveiled on Wednesday.
From a historic coronavirus postponement, to a sexism row prompting its top organiser to resign, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have faced many hurdles.
As the pandemic rages, with just over five months until the Games begin, it's still uncertain what this summer's event will look like -- if it happens at all.
Here, AFP chronicles Tokyo's Olympic journey:
- 2013: Tears of joy -
News presenters shed tears and crowds erupt in delight in September as the International Olympic Committee names Tokyo host of the 2020 Games.
Tokyo Olympics organizers unveil pandemic playbook with rules to avoid COVID spread
Organizers unveiled the first of a series of "playbooks," step-by-step guides for key stakeholders to a safe and successful Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic. © Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images Powered by Microsoft News "We are very confident for a number of reasons," Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said during a virtual press conference. "Tokyo is the best prepared city we have ever seen." The playbooks explain what to do before leaving home, when entering Japan, during the Games and when leaving the country.
Thoughts turn to the victims of Japan's devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with the Olympics seen by some as a chance to rebuild.
- 2015-16: New stadium, new logo -
Proposals for a new national stadium go back to the drawing board in July 2015 following public anger over the $2 billion price tag.
The following year, a new "snake-eye" logo is unveiled following a plagiarism scandal and immediately derided as "dull".
The original logo by designer Kenjiro Sano had to be ditched eight months earlier following allegations it too closely resembled that of a theatre in the Belgian city of Liege. Sano denied plagiarism.
- 2019: Payments probe -
French magistrates charge the head of Japan's Olympic committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, as they probe payments totalling $2.3 million made before and after Tokyo's nomination.
Tokyo 2020 says executive board members to gather over Mori's remarks
US-OLYMPICS-2020-MORI:Tokyo 2020 says executive board members to gather over Mori's remarksThe meeting on Friday is for the members to express their opinions on comments by Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori that women talk too much, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said, remarks that attracted widespread criticism and calls for Mori's resignation.
Takeda protests his innocence but later steps down from the role.
In October, the IOC shifts the Olympic marathon to northern Sapporo to avoid the capital's sweltering summer heat -- a surprise move that infuriates Tokyo officials.
- March 24, 2020: Historic postponement -
With Covid-19 spreading rapidly worldwide, Japan and the IOC postpone the Olympics in a historic decision.
A new date is announced for the opening ceremony -- July 23, 2021 -- but the event will still be called Tokyo 2020.
Organisers say in April there is "absolutely no" chance of postponing the Games a second time.
- September 2020: Games to happen 'with or without Covid' -
Tokyo Olympics Chief Mori Intends to Resign, Reports Say
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori intends to resign as the head of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee on Friday, according to local media reports. © Bloomberg Yoshiro Mori Mori has told executives of the ruling party that he plans to step down, broadcaster TV Asahi reported, without saying where it got the information. The reports come in the face of growing criticism from business leaders, politicians and the International Olympic Committee over Mori’s remarks that demeaned women.
IOC vice-president John Coates tells AFP the Olympics will go ahead, regardless of the pandemic, as the "Games that conquered Covid".
Preparations continue as top athletes put the new 60,000-seat stadium through its paces behind closed doors.
- December 2020: Extra costs, new rules -
Anti-virus measures and other delay-related costs add 294 billion yen ($2.8 billion) to the price tag, which has ballooned to at least 1.64 trillion yen ($15.8 billion) -- making Tokyo 2020 potentially the most expensive Summer Olympics in history.
Organisers outline plans for holding the event safely, with athletes facing regular testing and restrictions on mingling, and spectators spared quarantine but banned from cheering.
The IOC says it will try to ensure as many participants and spectators as possible are vaccinated, but jabs will not be obligatory.
Tokyo Olympics: Minister Seiko Hashimoto takes the reins after a sexist scandal
© AP Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee, here at a press conference in Tokyo on the 19th September 2019. This 56-year-old former athlete and Minister of the Olympic Games in the Japanese government of Yoshihide Suga was appointed president at the head of the Tokyo Olympics this Thursday, February 18, after the resignation of Yoshiro Mori following comments deemed sexist .
- January 2021: Virus surges, support drops -
Japan declares a virus state of emergency in the Tokyo region just over six months before the Olympics are due to open, with other parts of Japan later added and the measures extended for a second month.
Polls show around 80 percent of people in Japan say the event should be cancelled or postponed again.
But organisers and the IOC insist the Games will be held, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says they will be "proof of mankind's victory over the virus".
- February 2021: Sexism furore -
Yoshiro Mori, chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, resigns after his claims that women talk too much in meetings spark a firestorm of criticism.
"When you increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn't restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying," the gaffe-prone 83-year-old said.
He is replaced by Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, 56, a seven-time Olympian who is one of just two women in Japan's cabinet.
Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees .
Especially in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, it is not unreasonable that some lawmakers, oppose endorsing nominees known for making highly partisan statements, particularly in an office like the OMB that requires a smooth working relationship with Congress.For Haaland and Becerra, their opposition is rooted largely in policy differences. Republicans voiced early opposition to Becerra because of his vocal support for "Medicare for All" and abortion rights, while Haaland has drawn conservative criticism as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and for her opposition to fracking.