TOKYO — Tokyo might host the Olympic Games behind closed doors should the COVID-19 pandemic not be contained by the summer of 2021, said an executive of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Japan’s JIJI Press quoted the LDP executive, who is “close” to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as saying that the games, which has been rescheduled for July 23-Aug 8, 2021, “should definitely take place, even without spectators.”
Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government last Thursday marked one year to go until the opening of the delayed Olympics with a subdued event at the Olympic stadium.
But Japan has witnessed a consistent nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections since the start of July, with 239 new confirmed cases reported in Tokyo on Sunday. The Japanese capital has surpassed the 200 mark for the sixth straight day.
“It’s impossible to completely eradicate the coronavirus and hold the Tokyo Games,” a senior government official told JIJI. “We aim to manage the Olympics while coexisting with the coronavirus.”
The participants for the opening ceremony “may be limited to one representative from each country or region,” the official added.
At the same time, many think Japan should cancel the Olympics. “The Olympics will be unable to take place,” a veteran LDP politician predicted.
JIJI said that the cancellation of the Olympic Games could have a devastating impact on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.
“If the Olympics and Paralympics are canceled, the administration would become a lame duck,” a senior LDP member said.