Are the Olympics cancelled? Japan official’s comments sow doubts

Are the Olympics cancelled Japan officials comments sow doubts scaled

Men wearing face masks watch as giant Olympic rings, which were temporarily taken down in August for maintenance amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, are transported for reinstallation at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Men carrying face masks watch as big Olympic rings, which had been quickly taken down in August for upkeep amid the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak, are transported for reinstallation at the waterfront space at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO  – A senior Japanese ruling occasion official stated on Thursday that cancelling this yr’s Olympics in Tokyo stays an choice if the coronavirus disaster turns into too dire.

The Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee responded with an announcement saying all these concerned in making ready for the Games remained totally targeted on internet hosting them in the summer season.

“If it seems impossible (to host the Olympics) any more, then we have to stop it, decisively,” Toshihiro Nikai, secretary normal of the Liberal Democratic Party, stated in comments to broadcaster TBS.

Cancellation is “of course” an choice, he stated, including: “If the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?”

With Japan in the midst of a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, doubts over whether or not Tokyo would have the ability to host the Summer Games – already an unpopular thought with the public – have resurfaced in current weeks.

Government and organising officers have persistently stated the Games would go forward.

“We do not speculate,” an International Olympic Committee spokesperson stated on Thursday. “We are fully concentrated and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year, and working at full speed towards the opening ceremony on July 23.”

But the reality {that a} ruling occasion heavyweight made the comment was sufficient to offer his comments prime billing on home information.

NIKAI EXPLANATION

“Olympics Cancelled” was trending on Twitter in Japan with practically 50,000 tweets from customers as of Thursday afternoon.

“If this person says it, Olympics cancellation looks like a reality,” tweeted @marumaru_clm in reference to Nikai, who’s a key backer of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and is thought for his frank comments.

“Yay! This is great! Finally, it’s cancelled, cancelled, cancelled!” tweeted one other person, @haruha3156.

Nikai later issued a written assertion to clarify his stance.

“I want the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to succeed,” the assertion stated. “At the same time, to the question of whether we would host the (Games) no matter what, that is not the case. That’s what I meant by my comments.”

Prime Minister Suga later side-stepped a reporter’s query on whether or not cancelling was certainly an choice, saying solely that the authorities remained dedicated to controlling the pandemic forward of the Olympics.

“There’s no change to the government’s stance, to do everything possible to prevent the spread of infections as we head towards the Olympics,” he instructed reporters in Tokyo forward of his journey to Washington to fulfill with U.S. President Joe Biden.

INFECTIONS SURGE

Japan is grappling with rising COVID-19 infections, with new circumstances in Tokyo leaping to 729 on Thursday, the most since early February.

Tokyo, Osaka and a number of other different prefectures entered a quasi-state of emergency this month, asking bars and eating places to shorten their hours, and 4 extra prefectures had been set to be added, native media reported.

Asked about Nikai’s comments, the Tokyo Olympic organising committee stated in an announcement: “Prime Minister Suga has repeatedly expressed the authorities’s dedication to holding the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are fully focused on hosting the Games this summer.”

Preparations have included incorporating social distancing measures and different restrictions for the postponed Games, that are set to start on July 23 and will probably be held with out worldwide spectators.

A scaled-back torch relay is already underway.

“We’ll hold (the Games) in a way that’s feasible,” Taro Kono, a well-liked minister in command of Japan’s vaccination drive, stated on a separate TV programme, in response to Kyodo News. “That may be without spectators,” he added.

Japan’s prime medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, acknowledged the pandemic had entered a fourth wave, pushed by mutant strains, with Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura urging in {a magazine} commentary that the Olympics be postponed.

Akira Koike, an opposition lawmaker with the Japanese Communist Party, reacted to Nikai’s comments on Twitter saying that holding the occasion was already “impossible” and {that a} swift determination on cancellation ought to be made.

Cancelling or suspending the Games would most likely not harm Japan’s financial system a lot however would have a bigger impact on Tokyo’s service sector, a senior International Monetary Fund official stated on Wednesday.

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