After the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were cancelled last year due to COVID, final preparations for this year’s Games are now underway with the International Olympic Committee (ICO) promising to deliver ‘safety first’.

The Olympic Torch Relay begins on 25 March, and 18 test events will take place from April onwards, ramping up the momentum in Japan.

Following the publication of the first edition of key stakeholder playbooks in February, the finer details of the COVID-19 countermeasures continue to be worked on in preparation of the publication of the second edition by the end of April

Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko explained that her experience (as a seven-time Olympian and a Chef de Mission) will ensure that athletes remain at the heart of the decision-making. She said: “Let me speak as an athlete, as well as the President of Tokyo 2020. We are doing everything possible to prepare for safe and secure Games for stakeholders and citizens alike. I am committed to creating an environment where the athletes of the world can perform with confidence and pride.”

But there are still some fundamental decisions still undetermined including whether overseas spectators will be allowed to attend the Games and a decision on venue capacity.

In addition to health and safety matters, Hashimoto outlined the progress being made in relation to equality. She highlighted the appointment of 12 female members to the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board, increasing female representation to 42%, as well as the establishment of a Gender Equality Promotion team, headed by Sports Director Kotani Mikako.