The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, on Thursday says the Tokyo Olympics 2020 games will go ahead as planned.
This follows Japan’s most senior medical adviser’s statement that holding the event under current coronavirus conditions was “not normal”.
Already rescheduled last year at the cost of an extra $3.5 billion, a scaled-down version of the Games, with no foreign spectators is set to start on July 23.
“We cannot postpone again,” Seiko Hashimoto said an interview on Thursday.
She said, “I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this” adding that, “One thing the organising committee commits and promises to all the athletes out there is that we will defend and protect their health.”
The nation’s most senior medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, said on Thursday that public health guidance, including his, was not reaching the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in charge of the event.
“We are now considering where we should give our advice,” Shigeru Omi told lawmakers. “If they want to hold (the Games), it’s our job to tell them what the risks are.”
Hashimoto said it was a “very painful decision” to have no overseas spectators present, but it is necessary to ensure “a safe and secure Games”.
“[For many] athletes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they can compete in the Games. To not be able to have family members and friends who have supported them all along must be a very painful thing and that has caused me pain too,” she said.
On the possibility of some countries being prevented from travelling, Hashimoto added: “Who can come to Japan is something the Japanese government will decide.
“If it should happen that a country cannot come to Japan because they do not meet the minimum requirements that the government set, I think we have to listen to what the IOC and IPC feel about that.”
Japan is currently battling serious cases of COVID-19; the infection tally stands at nearly 750,000, with more than 13,000 deaths.