TOKYO: Tokyo Olympics organisers insisted on Friday (Jan 8) that the coronavirus-postponed Games will still go ahead despite Japan declaring a state of emergency less than 200 days before the opening ceremony.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday announced the month-long measure covering the greater Tokyo area, taking effect from Friday, as the country battles a surge in infections.
Tokyo 2020 chiefs have already said that another postponement of the Games – set to begin on Jul 23 – is out of the question.
And they insisted on Friday that the emergency would not derail plans.
READ: Fraught history haunts Japan COVID-19 vaccine roll-out
“This declaration of emergency offers an opportunity to get the COVID-19 situation under control and for Tokyo 2020 to plan for a safe and secure Games this summer, and we will proceed with the necessary preparations accordingly,” organisers said in a statement.
Suga said on Thursday that Japan is committed to holding a “safe and secure” Olympics, and that he believes public mood will change when the country begins vaccinations, currently scheduled for late next month.
International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told the BBC he could not “be certain” the Games will go ahead, because “the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus”.
BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments
Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram