Tokyo Olympics News: Japan minister on Thursday said that the once-delayed Tokyo Games might not go ahead this summer due to sudden COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. He added the host needs to be ready for anything.
“We need to do the best we can to prepare for the Games at this moment, but it could go either way,” Taro Kono, administrative and regulatory reform minister, said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.
A global second wave of COVID-19, including record infection cases in Japan, has raised fresh doubts about the Games, which were postponed by a year in 2020.
Tokyo Olympics: Japan Government announces emergency outside Tokyo
The government on Wednesday announced emergency outside Toky too, after the new COVID-19 strain exceeded 1,500 on Thursday, according to NHK report.
The Japanese public’s appetite for the sporting extravaganza has waned, with 77% of respondents in a survey this week saying it should be cancelled or postponed. But the Games – and the tourism dollars they bring – are a top priority for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
Suga and others have said repeatedly the decision whether to go ahead rests with the International Olympic Committee and that their agreement to continue preparations stands
“Anything is possible, but as the host of the Games we need to do whatever we can, so that when it’s a Go, we can have a good
Olympic Games,” Kono said in some of the strongest comments yet from a government minister about uncertainty over the Games.
“The Olympic Committee must be thinking about Plan B, Plan C. But the situation is not easy.”
Tokyo Olympics: Japan PM Suga says preparations going “Full Steam Ahead”
Suga said on Wednesday he had heard nothing to suggest the Games wouldn’t go ahead and then planning was going “full steam ahead.” Some overseas sports officials remain upbeat about the prospects, such as Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England, who on Wednesday said he was “hugely confident of the Games going ahead in the summer.”
But even if they open as planned on July 23, organisers may have to limit spectator numbers to guard against infections. Japan would also have to ease strict immigration controls that bar most foreigners from entering the country.
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori this month said a decision should be made in February or March whether the COVID-19 risks have fallen enough to let spectators attend.
(The Story was originally published by Reuters)