Preparations for Tokyo 2020 Olympics will 'continue as planned'

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/26 14:33:12 Last Updated: 2020/2/26 22:41:53

Olympic rings are illuminated during an event to mark six months before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on January 24. Photo: Xinhua

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee has dismissed a senior Olympic official's view of a "three-month window" of evaluation over the spread of coronavirus in Japan as not being the collective view of the International Olympic Committee, noting the preparations for the Olympics scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9, will "continue as planned."

"Tokyo 2020 was informed that 'the three-month window' is not necessarily the IOC's collective view," the 2020 Olympics organizing committee told the Global Times in an email on Wednesday. 

"We have never discussed canceling the Games. Preparations for the Games are continuing as planned."

The spread of novel coronavirus in Japan has raised speculation that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be canceled, as senior IOC member Dick Pound said there will be a "three-month" window to evaluate whether to cancel the Olympics.

Japan currently has at least 164 cases of confirmed infections from the novel coronavirus, in addition to 691 reported confirmed cases from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.

"Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute to be an important part of Tokyo 2020's plans to host a safe and secure Games," the organizers said.  

It's unlikely that Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be canceled, as the move would deal a big blow to Japan, bringing significant economic and social implications to a country that is already struggling from sluggish growth, according to analysts

"If the event is canceled due to the failure of Japanese authorities in containing the coronavirus spread, whether Shinzo Abe could continue to stay in office will be a question. The cancellation would trigger a political earthquake," Zhang Jifeng, vice director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. 


However, speculation over a possible cancellation would send out a warning to the Japanese government, urging it to adopt more decisive and aggressive measures in combating the virus, the Chinese expert said.

But most Japanese internet users believe it is necessary to cancel the Olympics based on the serious COVID-19 situation in both Japan and around the world, and they criticized the slow response taken by the Abe administration in dealing with the epidemic.

 "Although we have spent a lot of money on the preparations, people's lives are the most important thing," one Japanese netizen commented.

"I think the government should focus more on how to tackle the virus and take more practical measures instead of wasting more money on the Olympics," said another.

However, some netizens also expressed their disappointment and regret over the possible cancellation.

"We, as well as the athletes, have prepared so much for the huge four-yearly event. It would be really sad if we have to stop it," one noted.


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