Cancelling the Tokyo Olympics remains an option less than 100 days out from the rescheduled Games, according to a top official from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
After being postponed for the very first time last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympics are due to take place between July 23 and August 8, with the Paralympics then being held from August 24 until September 5.
Last month, it was announced that no overseas spectators would be permitted to attend the Olympics or Paralympics, though doubts over the viability of both events have risen again since then due to surging coronavirus cases in Japan.
A recent poll conducted by Kyodo News revealed that more than 70 per cent of Japanese citizens were in favour of the Olympics either being postponed or cancelled altogether.
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The prospect of a potential cancellation has now been raised again by Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the LDP.
“If it seems impossible to go on with the games, they must be definitely cancelled,” Nikai said on TBS TV. “If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics.”
Asked if cancellation was still an option, he added: “Of course.”
Meanwhile, Government minister Taro Kono insisted that the Olympics could only be held under “certain conditions”, with the likely prospect of no fans in attendance whatsoever.
“I think the question is how to do the Olympics in a way that is possible in this situation,” said Kono, who is in charge of Japan’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. “That may mean there will probably be no spectators.
“The way these Olympics will be held will be very different from past ones.”