Tokyo Olympics 2021: NZ Olympic officials forge on, despite reports of Games cancellation

In six months, Tokyo's National Stadium should be home to the world's top athletes - that's what our Olympic officials believed this morning.

"The IOC and TOKOG have committed to the delivery of the Games in 2021," insists NZ Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith. "There is no Plan B."

Just a few days ago, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was on message, saying they would "hold an event that will bring hope and courage to the world".

But Japanese virus experts say it's just too risky.

"It is like the attitude of a bad gambler," says one.

Now British newspaper The Times reports that the Government privately wants the Games cancelled, but that's been denied by the Japanese Prime Minister.

Our Olympic officials say they will keep preparing and that includes asking the Government when a vaccine will be available.

"We have opened a conversation around our timing and what can be expected, and that's where it is sitting right now," says Smith, who denies the NZOC expects preference for its athletes.

The Olympics start in late July and our Government says a vaccine should be available to the general population by then.

"The Government expects Olympians will get access to vaccines at the same time as the rest of the population, with priority given to the elderly and vulnerable," says COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. 

"We will continue to work on a vaccination schedule for New Zealand Olympians."

Will that be soon enough?

"At this point in time, those things are all fluid," admits Smith.

The Games have already been postponed, but with Japanese cases doubling in the past six weeks, COVID this time could cause a cancellation.