According to an unnamed senior member of Japan’s ruling coalition, the country has privately concluded the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they would be focusing on securing the Olympics in the next available year—2032.
The Tokyo Games organisers haven’t yet confirmed its cancellation. In fact, they have previously vowed to go ahead with preparations for the Olympics despite the surge of COVID-19 cases.
Previously in early September of 2020, Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said that the Tokyo Games must be held “at any cost” in 2021. He also said that the Games should be held “for the benefit of the athletes”, even during the worldwide pandemic. Additionally, International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said that there is “no plan B”, and that they are “fully committed to make these games safe and successful”.
“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,” said Bach.
According to Channel News Asia, recent opinion polls show that about 80% of people in Japan do not want the Olympics to be held this summer. They fear that the event will help spread the virus even further.
Japan hasn’t had too many cases early last year compared to other advanced economies. However, cases in Japan shot up around mid-November—and it has since risen to an average of about 6,000 new cases a day.
The Japan Olympics this year was originally scheduled for 2020. However, the event was pushed to 2021 back in March that year after athletes expressed fears over COVID-19.