By Joe Apu
Uncertainties are still hovering over the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may face outright cancellation if the fears of Japan over the coronavirus are anything to go by.
On Thursday, a government official hinted that cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could still be an option if the COVID-19 situation worsens, according to the second-ranked member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Against a background of renewed infections in Japan with fewer than 100 days to go until the Games are due to start on July 23, Kyodo News reports that LDP secretary general Toshihiro Nikai said while recording a TV programme: “If it becomes impossible, then it should be called off.
“What is the point of the Olympics if it’s responsible for spreading infections?
“We will have to make a decision at that point.”
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to stage a “safe and secure” Games, saying they will serve as a symbol of humankind’s triumph over the pandemic.
Nikai also said hosting the Games is a “big chance” for Japan and efforts should continue to ensure its success with support from the public, but cautioned against endangering public health in the process.
Vaccine Minister Taro Kono said in on a separate TV show the Games will be held in “whatever way is possible,” possibly without spectators.
Coronavirus cases in Japan have been increasing after a state of emergency was fully lifted last month, with tougher restrictions including shorter business hours for restaurants and bars in place for Tokyo and several other prefectures.