Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asserted on Friday that the they will hold Tokyo Olympics, denying reports that the games would be cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the Tokyo 2020 organizers said that Suga had expressed his absolute determination to hold the Games, noting that meetings are ongoing to ensure that they could go ahead.
“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC are fully focused on hosting the Games this summer,” the statement said. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games.”
Speaking in parliament Friday morning, Suga affirmed that the Games “will be a symbol of humanity overcoming the novel coronavirus, and a chance to showcase Japan’s reconstruction from the devastating (2011) earthquake and tsunami to the world.”
“We are determined to work closely together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, and the IOC to realize a safe and secure Olympics,” the Japan’s PM added.
This comes as a response to the Times of London, citing an unnamed senior member of the ruling coalition, reported that the government had privately cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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.”
Other Olympic officials were also quick to deny the claims made by the Times, as the Australian and US Olympic Committees said that 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 & Paralympic Committee wrote on Twitter.
(1/3) USOPC statement on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020:
— USOPC News (@USOPC_News) January 22, 2021
“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.”