Japan Tries To Remain Optimistic As COVID-19 Threatens To Cancel Tokyo Olympics

A pedestrian strolls past an official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games banner hanging on the Tokyo Metropolitan Federal Government Structure on Friday.

Behrouz Mehri/AFP by means of Getty Images

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Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

A pedestrian strolls past an official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games banner hanging on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on Friday.

Behrouz Mehri/AFP by means of Getty Images

” We have actually not gotten any details recommending the Games will not occur as prepared,” the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a tweet, “and our focus remains on the health and preparedness of Team USA athletes ahead of the Games this summertime.”

Japanese authorities are swatting away rumors and reports that the federal government has actually concluded that, with the Tokyo Olympics 151 days away, and much of the country in a COVID-19 state of emergency, the video games can not be held.

” If I start to feel even slightly not sure at this stage, it will impact whatever,” he said. “We should definitely push ahead, as that is the only alternative for us.”

Author Ryu Honma, among the games most vocal critics, likens the existing authorities attitude to the fatalistic state of mind of WWII Japanese generals, particularly those who prosecuted the dreadful Imphal project in northeast India in 1944.

On Thursday, International Olympic Committee Chief Thomas Bach kept in lockstep with Tokyo, telling the Kyodo News Agency that there is no “fallback” for the video games, which are set up to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8.

He has actually seen his approval ratings fizzle over the understanding that he has mishandled the response to the pandemic, focusing on politics and corporate profits over individualss health. If he defies public opinion about the games, they take a further hit.

The government is “pushing the video games forward without truly comprehending the critical scenario our healthcare system remains in,” argues Dr. Jin Kuramochi, who runs a clinic outside Tokyo. “Theyre not beating the infection, and they are not all set for the Olympics,” he alerts.

At the minute, Japans biggest cities– Tokyo and Osaka, together with several other prefectures– are under a state of emergency intended at halting a third wave of coronavirus infections. The emergency situation will last until at least Feb. 7.

” They will continue to firmly insist that the Olympics will be held, however officials will covertly make a choice, and then unexpectedly reveal that the games have actually been canceled,” he predicts.

A survey this month by national broadcaster NHK discovered that almost 80% of Japanese think the video games must be canceled or held off again, although organizers say another post ponement is not an alternative.

Authorities might be delaying the choice in hopes that the pandemic circumstance will all of a sudden improve. Honma argues that, more most likely, they are waiting up until they have no other option.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga informed parliament Friday that he was determined to make the games happen this time, and that authorities are “considering specific anti-virus measures” to make sure the Olympic occasions can be held securely.

Senior IOC member Dick Pound just recently stated he “cant be certain” about the games “due to the fact that the ongoing elephant in the space would be the surges in the virus.”

” Everyone understood it might never succeed however kept pushing anyhow,” he says in a phone interview. Ultimately, more than 50,000 soldiers were killed, and the leader took no responsibility,” he states.

Japan definitely does not delight in the possibility that the chance to celebrate victory over COVID-19 might be up to the host of next years winter games, Beijing, China.

In March, 2020, Japan suddenly revealed the video games post ponement by a year, after doggedly firmly insisting for weeks that such a relocation was difficult.

The official façade of confidence has actually been showing cracks, following expressions of doubt from political and sports heavyweights.

” I need to say anything is possible,” admitted Taro Kono, Japans Cabinet minister in charge of anti-COVID vaccinations.

Professional athletes, meanwhile, continue to train for the summertime video games, as they wait for explanation from the organizers and the IOC.

The prime minister has stated that the video games should be held in order to send out the message that mankind has thrived over the infection.

If Japan fails to flatten the curve, the emergency might be extended, potentially sealing the fate of the video games. Some choice will likely have actually to be made prior to the Olympic Torch Relay is arranged to begin on March 25.

Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo games organizing committee, informed a conference this month that he cant afford to openly express any doubt about the event.

” We want to fully reject (the report) by saying there is no such fact,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai informed reporters.

” This operation is well understood in Japan. The Tokyo Olympics is simply like it,” he adds.

They dismissed an anonymously sourced report by the British newspaper The Times that there is a growing consensus within the judgment Liberal Democratic Party that this summer seasons video games should be ditched, and Japan should bid for the next readily available slot in 2032.

Chie Kobayashi in Tokyo contributed to this report