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21 Jan, 2021
International Olympics Committee President Thomas Back has pushed back against rumours that the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan could be cancelled amidst the corona virus pandemic that refuses to die down.
The local organizing committee also issued a statement saying that the conduct of the Summer Olympics would go ahead, and it had the support of the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are fully focused on hosting the games this summer,” the statement said.
Hoping that the corona virus situation will coming under control sooner than later, the statement also underlined the efforts being made for the smooth & safe conduct of the games from July 23rd, 2021 – having been pushed back by 10 months from their original date.
Earlier, Times in London cited unidentified government sources and reported that the support for the conduct of the games was dwindling and they could well be cancelled in the light of the ongoing health crisis that has gripped the world for an year now.
“No one wants to be the first to say so, but the consensus is that it’s too difficult, personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” The Times quoted the source as saying.
The report also added that Japan would like to bid for and host the 2032 Olympics, the earliest possible chance of being allocated the games as 2024 and 2028 are already allocated to Paris and Los Angeles, respectively.
Earlier this month several reports indicated that there was an upsurge in corona virus cases in Japan, and the government was forced to put Tokyo and other areas under a state of emergency to be able to control the raging pandemic. This has also resulted in a large public resentment against the conduct of the games, according to the earlier quoted report in The Times.
However, both the Japanese government and the IOC would like to see the games go ahead and avert huge losses. Japan has already incurred an expenditure of $25 billion for the conduct of the games – most of which is taxpayer public money. Meanwhile, a cancellation would also hit the IOCs revenues hard, given that the broadcast rights account for almost 3/4th of the Committee’s revenues.
Thus, speaking to Japanese News Agency the IOC President reiterated his commitment to go ahead with the games.
“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,”
He also said there is “no Plan B.” And that is the concern at this juncture.