Two officials in Japan’s ruling LDP party on Thursday said changes could be coming to the Tokyo Olympics. One suggested they still could be canceled, and the other said even if they proceed, it might be without any fans.
Tokyo Olympics cancellation, no fans still an option, officials say
STEPANAKERT, APRIL 15, ARTSAKHPRESS: Toshihiro Nikai, the No. 2 and secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, suggested the cancellation only a day after Tokyo reached the 100-days-to-go mark on Wednesday, AP reported.
He made his comments in a show recorded by Japan’s TBS TV.
“If it seems impossible to go on with the games, they must be definitely canceled,” Nikai said. “If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics.”
Asked if a cancellation was still an option, Nikai said: “Of course.”
But he also added: “It is important for Japan to have a successful Olympics. It is a big opportunity. I want to make it a success. We will have many issues to resolve and prepare, and it is important to take care of them one by one.”
Tokyo organizers said they, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee “are fully focused on hosting the games this summer.” They said Primer Minister Yoshihide Suga “has repeatedly expressed the government’s commitment” to holding the Olympics.
COVID-19 cases have been surging across Japan. On Wednesday, Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area of Osaka recorded more than 1,100 new cases, its highest total since January. Japan recorded more than 4,000 new cases. The country has attributed 9,500 death to COVID-19, good by world standards but poor by results in Asia.
Taro Kono, the government minister in charge of Japan’s vaccine rollout, said even if the Olympics go on, there may be no fans of any kind in the venues. He said it’s likely that the Olympics will have to be held in empty venues, particularly as cases surge across the country.
That means only television cameras and still cameras will be around to record the action, joined by some reporters, judges and match officials.
The delayed Tokyo Olympics are to open in just over three months on July 23, and the Paralympics follow on Aug. 24. Fans from abroad have already been banned. Now even Japanese spectators could be kept away.