No good news from the IAEJ working group Tokyo2020.
We have had another very informative meeting with the FEI’s press department and we can assure everybody that every effort possible being made by the FEI to supply us with the best working circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are, however, very worried but must face reality. COVID is still a very big issue in Japan and the Japanese government is enforcing numerous countermeasures that impact our work environment.
One thing is for sure:
These games will remain forever in our heads if only because we were not allowed to enter the Equestrian stadium on the day of the dressage freestyle or the second round of the nation’s cup. This sounds awful but it likely that some of us will experience this.
The simple fact is: There are colleagues who have decided not to travel to Japan, but the number of accredited media for equestrian sport is still exceeding the number of places available in the VMC and photo positions due to capacity being cut to accommodate Covid-19 countermeasures. The booking system will be, next to all the other inconveniences, the biggest threat for the working equestrian media in Tokyo. As of now, there will not be day passes for everyone.
The FEI is working to mitigate this problem proactively and there is a constant exchange between Lausanne and Tokyo to find solutions. Nevertheless, hoping to get the QR-code sent that allows you to enter the venue the next day will be part of our daily anxieties.
It became crystal clear to us last week that we have no chance to get influence on the organizing committee’s ideas of how to handle the situation as it is regulated by the Japanese authorities Covid-19 countermeasures.
There are a couple of things that we like to remind you to:
- Please make sure that you, besides all the different technical problems every one of us is facing when trying to work on the different platforms (ICON, ADS, AMS, CLO …), try to meet the deadlines. And if you have missed the deadlines stipulated in the checklist – keep doing the tasks, they all need to be fulfilled before entering Japan.
- From our experience we can tell that the AMS (accommodation) is an absolute mess which makes things even worse. Since having an accommodation granted is the basis for lots of paperwork that needs to be done before flying to Tokyo. Friday 11th of June an email was sent out to all accredited media without a booked accommodation or an approved accommodation. Two emails from email@example.com Tokyo 2020 Press Accommodation Program: Access Link and a following email with the login and password. There were still rooms available, see FB post about the different locations from Friday 11th June.
- The activity plan – We hope everybody has realized that it should always include all possible places you may visit during your first 14 days in Japan (which are in fact not that many for EP and EPS accredited press).
- The booking system for day passes comes live on the 15th of July. To have a chance – not a guarantee – you need to book all your passes in the app as soon as possible. We cannot stress this hard enough, download the app and book them all no later than on the day it opens.
- Certain countries, at the moment among others the UK, are on a red list for Japan. That means people entering from the UK need to undergo a strict 6 days quarantine, regardless if they have the negative test or are fully vaccinated.
- Obviously, the Japanese government is more determined to let no one enter the country who hasn’t got all the demanded paperwork (Yes, papers also, not everything is digital!) at hand when arriving at Tokyo Haneda/Narita airport. ‘Be prepared for many hours (currently around 4 hours) after landing for paperwork, Covid-test and accreditation.
The 3rd version of the playbook is due to be published next week. Until then we would like to remind you of our checklist. The FEI will publish its own checklist soon on their website, we were told.
We would have wanted to provide you with better information. But unfortunately, things are the way they are. It’s like in showjumping; if the pole is down, it is down. No discussion.