International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has reiterated that the Tokyo Games will go ahead this summer, with the need to make "sacrifices" amid overwhelming public opposition in Japan, where much of the country is under a state of emergency to combat spiraling coronavirus infections.
Bach said they would be necessary to ensure the Olympics can be held in two months in comments reported by Indian news agency PTI during an online address to the International Hockey Federation congress on Saturday.
It was initially unclear whether Bach included the Japanese public in his remarks, made when opinion polls have shown the large majority in the host country favor canceling the Olympics and IOC Vice President John Coates's suggestion on Friday to go ahead with the games under any circumstance has fueled controversy.
However, the IOC later said the president did not mean to call on the people of Japan to make sacrifices.
According to a transcript provided by the IOC, Bach told the congress, "Everyone in the Olympic community has to make sacrifices" in order to "adapt to this unprecedented situation."
"All measures were taken to keep the focus on the essentials of Olympic Games: the sporting competitions, so that the athletes can make their Olympic dreams come true," he is quoted as saying.
The IOC chief touted the vaccination of athletes among a range of measures to ensure "a safe environment" at the games.
During an online press conference held Friday, Coates said the July 23 to Aug. 8 Olympics would be held even if the Japanese capital remained under a state of emergency.
"The answer is absolutely yes," Coates said when asked whether the games could be delivered under the emergency.
The organizing bodies of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics formally decided in March to hold this summer's games without overseas spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.