Tokyo Olympics: Not all athletes vaccinated against COVID-19 - chef de mission Rob Waddell

Not all New Zealand athletes heading to the Olympics are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Just 12 days out from the games in Tokyo, Japan continues to record rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. 

With consecutive days of more than 800 new cases, it was announced the games will be spectator-free.

There's little excitement in Tokyo, despite being less than two weeks out from the Olympics. That's not helped by the ban on foreigners - planes headed for Japan are looking deserted.

Some organisers seem at breaking point. Director of ticketing Suzuki Hidenori choked back tears over the complete ban on spectators, saying he feels sorry for not being able to meet the public's expectations.

Getting into the country itself is a marathon effort. There are temperature and document checks, as well as COVID-19 tests. After making it out of the airport, there are quarantine requirements too.

It's the same process that will greet New Zealand's largest Olympic team ever, including stars like Valerie Adams and Lisa Carrington, in the coming weeks.

"We've got tools in the toolbox, and one of them is being vaccinated, and that has given up confidence that those in the team will be better protected," chef de mission Rob Waddell says.

But as New Zealand crews begin to arrive for the games, he admits not all athletes are vaccinated.

"There's a very small number that haven't been vaccinated for reasons to do with their own circumstances. But largely, the team is vaccinated."

The New Zealand team will be subject to strict measures from the word go - the Japanese are taking no second chances.