July 22, 2020 / 2:40 AM / 25 days ago

Tokyo 2020 chief says fans are essential - Kyodo

Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organising Committee, and CEO Toshiro Muto wearing protective face masks attend a news conference after giving a presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about progress towards the rearranged the summer games next year, in Tokyo, Japan July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori told Kyodo News in an interview that he disliked the idea of holding the Games in empty venues without fans.

The Tokyo Olympics were due to start this Friday but because of the COVID-19 pandemic the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government took the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games until 2021.

Since then, organisers have been looking at various options that would allow the Games to go ahead next summer.

IOC President Thomas Bach said last week that spectator reductions might be an option.

Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, said he was eager to avoid this scenario.

“We shouldn’t make spectators go through hard times. Sporting events are all about the whole country empathising,” Mori said in an interview with Kyodo News on Tuesday.

Mori added that he thought Bach’s comments were “assuming the worst-case scenario”.

Tokyo 2020 organisers will hold meetings with the Japanese government and local Tokyo Metropolitan Government in September to work through various scenarios.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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