Olympic chiefs refuse to rule out CANCELLING the Tokyo Games due to rising Covid cases as more sponsors pull out of opening ceremony due to local anger
Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have refused to rule out cancelling the event just three days before it is due to start amid concern over rising Covid cases.
Toshiro Muto, head of the organising committee, was asked directly at a press conference on Tuesday whether the showpiece event – which has cost Japan some £12billion – could still be called off, and refused to rule it out.
It comes as the number of Covid cases linked to the Games rose to 71 with infections in Athletes’ Village, and two more sponsors announced they will not be sending representatives to the Opening Ceremony due to local anger.
‘We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,’ said Muto.
‘We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.’
COVID-19 cases are rising in Tokyo rising and the Games, postponed last year because of the pandemic, will be held without spectators. Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise the risk of further infections.
The opening ceremony will also take place without major Olympic sponsors, the companies said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to a slimmed-down Games as more athletes tested positive for the coronavirus.
Muto, a former top financial bureaucrat with close ties to Japan’s ruling party, is known for his careful choice of words, while organisers are facing a domestic public angry about coronavirus restrictions and concerned over a possible spike in cases triggered by Games attendees arriving from abroad.