Bach hopeful spectators can attend the Olympics

VIDEO SHOWS: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH

SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (NOVEMBER 16, 2020) (FOREIGN POOL - ACCESS ALL)

1. INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH ARRIVING FOR MEETING WITH TOKYO 2020 OFFICIALS

2. BACH GREETING TOKYO 2020 HONORARY PRESIDENT FUJIO MITARAI / MITARAI TRYING TO HAVE HANDSHAKE BUT BACH INSISTING ON ELBOW BUMP

3. VARIOUS OF BACH, MITARAI, HEAD OF TOKYO 2020 COORDINATION COMMISSION, JOHN COATES, AND TOKYO 2020 PRESIDENT, YOSHIRO MORI, SPEAKING

4. MEETING STARTING

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"All this makes us even more confident that we can have, next year, a reasonable number of spectators in the stadia and therefore enjoy the Olympic spirit."

6. VARIOUS OF MEETING UNDERWAY

7. BACH AND MORI ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE

8. NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY

9. MORI REMOVING MASK AND SAYING (Japanese): "WE CAN REMOVE THE MASKS BECAUSE THERE IS DISTANCE BETWEEN US"

10. NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY

11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"We know that we will have more COVID counter-measures in our toolbox than we have now. We know that there will be a more sophisticated rapid testing regime available. You see new developments by the month, if not by the week, all over the world. We can also be more confident that most likely there will be vaccines being available."

12. NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY

13. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"There are some rumours going around... we never said this, that we can make it obligatory or a requirement (to get a vaccine). We want to convince as many foreign participants as possible to accept a vaccine."

14. JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION

15. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"This will take time. We have been discussing here a number of measures that may have to be taken, or not taken, and this will have a direct influence on the costs. It is just impossible now to have a sound figure. You can speculate about any number right now but it is just not realistic at this moment."

16. NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY

17. BACH, WHEN ASKED WHETHER VACCINATION WOULD BE COMPULSORY FOR ALL ATHLETES TO COMPETE AT TOKYO 2020, SAYING FLATLY (English): "NO." / BACH THEN LAUGHING

18. BACH LEAVING

STORY: International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach expressed confidence on Monday (November 16) that the Tokyo Games will be held successfully next year, even allowing spectators to attend, as the world grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

Bach's two-day visit to Tokyo is likely to bolster Japan's efforts to stage the Olympics, but will do little to assuage the concerns of a public deeply worried about the spread of the virus.

The IOC president spent the day with the Tokyo organisers discussing how to stage the massive sporting event during an unprecedented pandemic and ensure safety for a gathering of more than 11,000 international athletes.

The visit is Bach's first to the Japanese capital since he and former prime minister Shinzo Abe decided in March to postpone the 2020 Games to next year.

At a news conference, Bach said he would not make vaccination a requirement for Games participants, despite earlier saying the vaccine was a positive step for the Games.

News of a potentially successful vaccine from Pfizer Inc has lifted hopes for the staging of the Games, but public opinion in Japan remains mixed.

Nearly 60% of respondents in a November poll by TV Asahi said the event should be further postponed or canceled.

Last week Japan reported record new daily cases, sparking concerns of a third wave of infections, although it has mostly avoided the high death tolls recorded elsewhere.

Bach sees next year's Games as a glimmer of hope after the world's pandemic battle, and pointed to recent sporting competitions in Japan as proof that events could already take place safely, saying the IOC was now "very confident" that spectators would be able to attend the Games.

But he told reporters it was not realistic to put a figure on the cost of the postponement until next year's virus precautions are ascertained.

(Production: Jack Tarrant)