Cancelling Tokyo Olympics still an option, says top government official

Even if the Olympics happens, the event might take place in empty stadiums amid rising COVID-19 cases, adds another official

Tokyo Olympics logo; Credit: Olympics Twitter page
By Karthik Raman | Apr 15, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

One official from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has said that cancelling the upcoming Tokyo Olympics could be a possibility. Whereas, another official from the same party felt that changes might be made to the Olympics, possibly without any fans in the stadiums. The Olympics is scheduled to take place between July 23 and August 8, while Paralympics will happen from August 24 to September 5.

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke last year, the ability to conduct a global sporting spectacle like the Olympics was in the spotlight. After being postponed from last year to this year, the rise in COVID-19 cases has yet again cast a shadow on the event. Notably, last month it was announced that no overseas spectators would be allowed to attend the Olympics or Paralympics.

Secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, has now suggested that the cancellation of the Tokyo Games is still a possibility, according to Japan’s TBS TV. Asked if a cancellation was still an option, Nikai said: “Of course.”

“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.”

Nonetheless, Nikai insisted the importance of Japan hosting the Games in a successful manner. “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,” he added.

Empty stadiums

Japan on Wednesday reported over 4,000 new cases of coronavirus, as per reports. Notably, the cases surpassed 4,000 for the first time since January 28. The surge in the COVID-19 cases might result in the Games taking place in empty stadiums, according to Taro Kono, the government minister in charge of Japan’s vaccine rollout.

“I think the question is how to do the Olympics in a way that is possible in this situation,” Kono said on a TV talk show. “That may mean there will probably be no spectators.”

“The way these Olympics will be held will be very different from past ones,” he further added.