Saturday, 23 October 2021

‘We cannot postpone again,’ says Tokyo 2020 chief

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The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee ruled out a cancellation or further postponement of the Olympics as doubts grew among officials of city governments and medical experts whether the event can be held safely amid the pandemic.

Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Japanese want the Games cancelled or put off yet again, after being delayed a year over the coronavirus crisis.

A majority of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly feel the same way, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper said on Thursday.

“We cannot postpone again,” athlete-turned-politician and organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto told the Nikkan Sports newspaper in an interview.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is likely to call a snap election after the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Asahi newspaper said, showing his resolve to push ahead with the event.

Foreign spectators have already been barred from the Games, set to start on July 23, and officials are undecided whether to allow Japanese fans to attend.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said excited fans, shouting and hugging, could pose a contagion risk.

Towns and cities set to host Olympic training or events have increasingly expressed misgivings, amid concern that visitors could spread virus variants and drain medical resources.

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