Olympics could be canceled if coronavirus persists next year, Tokyo 2020 chief says

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The Games are scheduled to start on July 23, 2021, having already been postponed for a year in the midst of the virus epidemic.

This would be the strongest statement on the cancellation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games from the organizers, who have regularly stated that they are focusing on plans to organize the Games.

Asked in an interview with Nikkan Sports about another postponement of the event if the virus persists, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “No. It will then be canceled.

“The Olympics have been canceled in the past for issues like war. We are fighting against an invisible enemy now. “

Mori reiterated that the organizers are still working on hosting the Games next year.

“The Olympic Games would be much more precious than any Olympic Games in the past if we could go ahead with them after winning this battle,” he said.

“We have to believe it otherwise our hard work and our efforts will not be rewarded. “

Meanwhile, famed Japanese doctor Yoshitake Yokokura said it would be “difficult to host the Olympics” without an effective vaccine.

“I’m not saying that (Japan) should or shouldn’t welcome it, but I expect it to be difficult to do,” said Yokokura, president of the Japanese Medical Association, on Tuesday.

“I want to believe that (the number of) people infected (in Tokyo) is decreasing. But there are not enough tests done in Japan, so it is difficult to assess (if the number of cases has decreased).

“We have to monitor the situation for another week. “

There are 13,614 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan and at least 385 deaths, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

Contacted by CNN, the Tokyo 2020 public relations office said that “the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Games are already set for 2021”.

She continued: “The mission of the organizing committee is to prepare the scene for the Games next year.

“We have built a framework for action against the coronavirus, where the IOC and Tokyo2020 exchange information and coordinate closely, including WHO. We will continue to maintain this close coordination with all parties concerned and to discuss additional measures if necessary. “

In a statement released last week, the IOC said Japan would not handle a second postponement, but added that it was “very confident that all the complex parties will come together and give us wonderful Games”.

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