TOKYO – The head of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday was again forced to assure the world that the postponed games will open in just over three months and not be canceled despite surging COVID-19 cases in Japan.
Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto was asked at a news conference if there were any conditions under which the Olympics would be canceled.
The question comes as the general secretary of ruling LDP political party, Toshihiro Nikai, raised the possibility the day before.
“There are a variety of concerns but as the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee we are not thinking about canceling the games," Hashimoto said.
Nikai, the No. 2 person in the LDP party, was asked on Thursday in an interview if cancellation was still an option.
“Of course,” he replied, adding that if the Tokyo Games caused a surge in infections “there would be no meaning to having the Olympics.”
Nikai tried to backtrack later, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a statement Thursday saying there is “no change to the government position to do everything to achieve safe and secure Olympics.”
Hashimoto acknowledged Nikai's concern and suggested it was probably shared by the Japanese public. Polls show as many as 80% in Japan oppose holding the Olympics during the pandemic.