Japan have pledged their commitment to hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games, despite rumours of a possible cancellation.
Tokyo 2020 has already been delayed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there are fresh fears that the Games may be cancelled for a second time.
Reports emerged that an unnamed senior member of Japan’s government had admitted defeat in staging the Games and that their focus was now on securing the summer Olympics in 2032, the next available year.
Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai stated: “We will clearly deny the report.”
Quickly shooting down the reports of a possible cancellation, Sakai said that the government is working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other parties to ensure the Games go as planned in a safe and secure manner.
Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo governor, further responded to these reports, insisting that the plan for the Olympic flame to be lit on the 23rd of July to open the Games will still go ahead.
He issued a statement saying there had been no talk of delaying or cancelling the Games and that they were “fully focussed” on hosting the Games as scheduled.
The IOC echoed the Japanese government's statement to ease public concern of holding the Games amid a global pandemic.
IOC President Thomas Bach told the Japanese Kyodo news agency that: “We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games will not open on 23 July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.
Adding there is “no plan B”.
Japan, like many other countries around the world, is dealing with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
With new daily cases increasing to more than 1,000 and the death toll standing at nearly 4,900 in Japan, the host country's public fear that an increase in athletes from across the world coming into the country will spike the amount of cases even further.
A recent opinion poll shows that about 80% of people in Japan do not want the Games to be held this summer.
Despite the public’s fears, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Yasuhiro Yamashita was adamant the Games would go ahead as planned, saying the event would bring “hope and courage” to the world.
Author: Jack Finnie