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anti-Olympic protesters

A small group of anti-Olympic protesters shout slogans in Tokyo.

It comes as Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Japanese organisers have sounded a confident note that the Olympic Games — scheduled for last summer but put back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic — will go ahead.

Athletes won't be required to take a coronavirus vaccine to compete, Bach said on Tuesday, adding that mandatory shots would be "going too far".

Bach, who is in Tokyo to bolster confidence in the pandemic-postponed event, said taking a vaccine would be a "free decision" for athletes and others involved in the games.

However, the IOC will "appeal" to athletes and others to be vaccinated, Bach added, calling it a "sign of respect" for other competitors and the Japanese hosts.