The Japanese government is known to be reviewing possibilities of cancelling the Tokyo Olympics even though the Olympic torch relay began in Olympia, Greece on Thursday. Seemingly, it decided that holding the Olympics could become infeasible as the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
According to the report of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the Japanese government is contemplating suggesting a one-year delay to the International Olympic Committee by leveraging the relations between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump. Tokyo 2020 executive board member Haruyuki Takahash said Tuesday that the most realistic choice would be to delay it by one or two years in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
A plan to delay it for more than a year, however, may violate the contract. That is why the Japanese cabinet is discussing a one-year delay by working with the U.S. president.
Some question whether athletes from overseas would participate in the Tokyo Olympics when a pandemic has been declared. Masahiro Kami, head of the Medical Governance Research Institute, said countries other than Japan would decide whether to hold the Olympics as planned because if too many athletes decide not to participate in the event, Japan is bound to cancel it.
Abe’s plan A is to hold the event as planned to avoid damages in politics and economy. "There is no change to the government’s stance to make preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games as planned,” said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a press conference on Thursday.
“It can’t be said that the announcement of a pandemic would have no impact,” said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. “But I think cancellation is unthinkable.”