This year, the show must go on.
No matter what.
That appears to be the message from Tokyo 2020 chief and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who says the Olympics will indeed take place in his country this summer.
“We’ll certainly go ahead however the coronavirus evolves,” Mori said in a meeting of Olympic organizers and members of Japan’s ruling party in Tokyo, according to The Japan Times.
Lots of uncertainty is surrounding the Olympics, which were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rescheduled for July 23, 2021.
A report in The Times last month said the Japanese government had “privately concluded” that the Olympics would have to be canceled. That report has since been denied by organizers, though the challenge ahead is immense.
Japan is currently in a state of emergency due to the pandemic, as are many countries around the world. While vaccines are being distributed throughout the globe, it remains to be seen what the state of Japan, and the world, will be in July.
“We must go beyond discussion about whether we will hold it or not,” Mori added. “It’s about how we will do it. Let’s think about a new kind of Olympics on this occasion.”
The last Summer Olympics in 2016 not only welcomed 11,238 athletes from 207 countries, but it also involved countless numbers of officials, sponsors, media, and fans from around the world. With less than six weeks to go before the scheduled start date, it remains to be seen who will be permitted into the country and if fans will be allowed at events.
The Olympic Torch Relay is scheduled to go ahead next month, beginning on March 25 from the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima Prefecture, before traveling to all 47 prefectures across Japan.