TOKYO (Reuters) — Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that he was determined to hold the Tokyo Olympics.
His comments came after a media report said the government concluded the Games would have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, citing one unidentified source from the ruling coalition.
Suga said in parliament that he would work closely with Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee.
The Times originally reported Japan’s government had privately concluded the Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, citing an unnamed senior member of the ruling coalition.
The government’s focus is now on securing the Games for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032, the newspaper said.
Japan has been hit less severely by the pandemic than many other advanced economies, but a recent surge in cases has spurred it to close its borders to non-resident foreigners and declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and major cities.
About 80% of people in Japan do not want the Games to be held this summer, recent opinion polls show, over fears the influx of athletes will spread the virus further.
Against this backdrop, 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, The Times report said.
“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.”
“Any official communication on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will come from the IOC, Tokyo Organizing Committee and the Japanese government. 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.”USOPC STATEMENT ON THE OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020
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