Tokyo: Will the Tokyo Olympics be held this year. Doubts still persist as Japanese cabinet minister Taro Kono has said ‘anything can happen’. The Games are scheduled to begin in the Japanese capital in a little over six months. But there is still no final word still as to whether it will be held.Taro Kono’s statements contradict the official government position and that of the local organising committee. They have both said repeatedly the Tokyo Olympics will take place and will be ‘safe and secure’.
Kono has opened the door to a possible cancellation of the Olympics. He also reiterated recent poll results that show about 80% in Japan think the Olympics shouldn’t happen, or will not happen.
“I should say anything is possible,” Kono said at a conference here. “It could go either way,” Kono, the minister for Administrative and Regulatory Reform, added.
Much of Japan is under an emergency order with new COVID-19 cases rising across the country. Japan has handled the coronavirus better than most countries. However, even then 4,000 people have fallen prey to the virus.
The schedule dates for the Olympics to start are July 23 followed by the Paralympics beginning August 24.
Kono suggested few fans were likely to be attending with the focus on 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes who must enter Japan. They will be accompanied by tens of thousands of officials, judges, volunteers, media, and broadcasters.
“We need to think about those people who come and watch. We basically need to focus on the athletes first,” Kono saidhe said. “And then if it’s possible, we need to get the tourists in. So from now until summer, anything is possible,” Kono stated.
“The Olympic committee must have been thinking about Plan B, Plan C, whatever. I mean, the situation is not easy. There must be some back-up plan,” he added.
IOC officials and President Thomas Bach have said the Olympics cannot be postponed again. The Games will be cancelled if they can’t be held.
Japan and the IOC are heavily invested in the Olympics. Japan has spent at least $25 billion to organise the Olympics. The IOC relies on the Games with 73 per cent of its income coming from the sale or broadcast rights. Another 18 per cent is from sponsors.