Doubts about Tokyo’s pandemic Olympics

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Islam News – A leading member of Japan’s governing party said on Thursday that the country would consider canceling the Tokyo Olympics if rising coronavirus cases were not brought under control.

Though he quickly walked back the comments — saying in a statement that “our party has not changed its support for holding a safe and worry-free Games” — it was the first public indication that the government was considering canceling the Games.

Polls show that more than 70 percent of the Japanese public believes that the Games should be delayed again or called off. The government maintains that it intends to put on “safe” Games as a symbol of resilience, but without spectators from abroad.

Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party and one of the country’s top politicians, said in a TV interview that “if the situation becomes more difficult, we’ll have to completely cancel” the Olympics. The interview was prerecorded and has not yet aired. Hours later, as headlines about the interview circulated, Mr. Nikai sought to soften the message with a statement reaffirming his commitment to the Games.

Infection rates in Japan, although still relatively low, have climbed in recent weeks, raising fears that the country could soon face a “fourth wave” of infections as it prepares for the Games. They are set to begin in late July, a year after they were postponed because of the pandemic.

Source: The New York Times