© Reuters. Preview of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics-Tokyo, Japan-July 20, 2021. A panoramic view of the Olympic rings outside the National Stadium, the main venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
By Karolos Grohmann and Ju-min Park
TOKYO (Reuters)-The chairman of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee on Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of canceling global sporting events at the last minute, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase, which poses a growing challenge for the organizers.
When asked at a press conference whether the Olympic Games originally scheduled to open on Friday may still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto said that he will closely monitor the number of infections and discuss with the organizers if necessary.
“We cannot predict what will happen to the number of coronavirus cases. Therefore, if the number of cases surges, we will continue to discuss,” Muto said.
“We have agreed that according to the situation of the new crown virus, we will hold the five-party talks again. At this time, the number of new crown virus cases may rise or fall, so we will consider what we should do when the situation arises.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo is increasing, and the Olympics, which were postponed by the pandemic last year, will be held without spectators. Japan decided this month that participants will play in empty courts to minimize the risk of further infection.
The two companies said on Tuesday that the opening ceremony will also be held without a major Olympic sponsor, and as more and more athletes test positive for the coronavirus, this has dealt yet another blow to the scaled-down Olympics.
Muto is a former senior financial bureaucrat who has close ties to the Japanese ruling party and is known for his cautious wording, while the organizers are facing domestic public anger over coronavirus restrictions and fears of cases caused by Olympic participants from abroad. May surge.
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