Organizer: Japan to secure fewer doctors, nurses

Japan's medical system continues to be under strain. And concerns are mounting over holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that kick off in two months. The head of Japan's organizing committee says it has reduced the number of doctors and nurses required for the Games by 30 percent, to about 7,000.

On Friday, organizing committee President Hashimoto Seiko spoke to reporters after wrapping up a three-day meeting with the International Olympic Committee and other entities.

She said Japan plans to secure up to about 230 doctors and 310 nurses per day during the Games.

She also said the committee estimates it has secured about 80 percent of them through negotiations.

Hashimoto said " We have to proceed with securing a sufficient number of medical staff for the Tokyo games in a manner that will not hinder the response of regional medical systems to the coronavirus."

An IOC senior official was asked whether the Games can be held this summer even if Tokyo remains under the state of emergency.

IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said " We've just successfully seen five sports hold their test events during the state of emergency. At all of the plans that we have in place to protect the safety and security of the athletes and the people of Japan based around the worst possible circumstances, and so the answer is absolutely yes."

The Tokyo organizing committee president said in addition to athletes, 78,000 people are expected to visit Japan for the Games including IOC members and journalists.

The total number is said to be less than half of the 180,000 estimated before the Games were postponed.