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Tokyo Olympics cancelled? Japanese government issues clarification

The Times suggested that Japan's government is now looking to secure the mega event for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032

Published: Jan 22, 2021, 08.15 AM(IST)

The Japanese government has refuted reports suggesting the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus pandemic.  There is no truth to a report about the possible cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai, a government spokesman, told reporters on Friday, denying the Times’ report.

According to The Times report, the Japanese government had privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics, that was scheduled to be held this year, will have to be cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic. The newspaper cited an unnamed senior member of the ruling party.

The Times suggested that Japan’s government is now looking to secure the mega event for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032.

The Games were scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed by a year due to coronavirus outbreak but the recent surge in confirmed cases raised many doubts over the Olympics being held.

In early international reactions, both the Australian and United States Olympic Committees said on Friday they remained focused on preparing for the Games as now scheduled.

“Any official communication on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will come from the IOC, Tokyo Organizing Committee and the Japanese government,” the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee wrote on Twitter.

“We have not received any information suggesting the Games will not happen as planned, and our focus remains on the health and preparedness of Team USA athletes ahead of the Games this summer.”

“The AOC is continuing its planning to ensuring the Australian Olympic Team arrives in Tokyo, competes and returns home safe and COVID-free,” the AOC said in a statement.

Earlier, Japan’s local media (Kyodo News) did a survey and found out that around 80 per cent of Japanese want the Tokyo Olympics to either be cancelled or delayed after a surge in coronavirus cases in the Asian country.

According to the survey, 35.3 per cent want the Games to be cancelled and 44.8 per cent favored another delay.

As per the Times report, the government is seeking a way to save face by announcing a cancellation that leaves the door open to Tokyo hosting at a later date.

“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” The Times quoted the source as saying. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga this week said the showpiece event would “bring hope and courage to the world.”

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reaffirmed his commitment to holding the Games this year in an interview with Kyodo News on Thursday.

“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” Bach told Kyodo.

 

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