Japan promises Tokyo Olympics will be safe
Published: May 27, 2021 04:43 PM
Tokyo Olympics Photo: VCG

Tokyo Olympics Photo: VCG

Japan pledged on Thursday to keep in close contact with Olympics stakeholders at home and abroad to ensure a safe and secure Games even as it prepared to extend a state of emergency across much of the nation, including host city Tokyo.

Concerns remain rife about the safety of the 2020 Olympics, postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with public opinion polls showing a majority of Japanese are opposed to holding the Games in summer 2021 amid struggles to control a fourth wave of coronavirus and sluggish vaccine rollout.

The government is currently preparing to extend a state of emergency across much of the nation originally set to be lifted on Monday, most likely well into June, officials have said.

Earlier this week, the US advised against travel to Japan, but Olympics organizers have said this will not affect the Games. The White House on Wednesday said it had been assured by the Japanese government that it will keep in close contact about concerns over the Olympics.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Japan would continue making every effort to control the virus irrespective of the Olympics, and would be in close contact with concerned parties at home and abroad about the measures being taken in connection with the Games.

"Careful anti-infection measures are a crucial part of being able to deliver a safe and secure event," he told a news conference. "We will maintain close and periodic contact with all those concerned, both within the country and without, to explain what we're doing on this score."

Just over 5 percent of Japan has received vaccinations, and it has recorded about 719,000 infections and 12,394 deaths.