At a Group of Seven (G7) meeting, the member countries continued their support of Japan’s plan to host the Olympic Games this summer. The G7 is a group of seven government organizations from global powers who meet annually to discuss global issues: Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
While this meeting focused heavily on the global pandemic, it also brought a piece of positive news for athletes across the world. In the G7’s joint statement following the meeting, the leaders stated that they, “support the commitment of Japan to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19.”
Following the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke to reporters on the G7’s support of his goal of hosting the Olympic Games this summer. Suga said that he hoped to make the Olympics happen “as testimony that human beings will have won the battle with the coronavirus.” Suga also called the support of the other leaders of the G7 nations “encouraging”.
In the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) response, IOC President Thomas Bach said:
“We welcome the message of support from the G7 Leaders for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, to be held this summer. At the IOC, we are very grateful for this strong signal of confidence and encouragement. This will inspire us to reinforce even further our efforts, together with the Japanese government and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, to organise these Olympic and Paralympic Games in a safe and secure way for all the participants.”
This isn’t the first time that a summit of world nations has pledged their support of the continued efforts to allow the Games to take place as currently planned. In November of 2020, at the G20 Summit, which featured leaders of 26 nations, the European Union, and the World Health Organization (WHO), a declaration was made supporting Japan’s continued efforts to ensure the Games take place.
While the G7’s support of the Games is a positive sign, not all country’s leaders, even those who attended the G7 Summit, have been as optimistic. Last week U.S. President Joe Biden stated that any decision related to the Olympic Games would need to be “based in science.”
While in the United States over 16 million citizens are fully vaccinated, Japan has been much slower in spreading vaccinations across the country. High-priority recipients of the vaccine, such as doctors and nurses, only started receiving doses of the vaccine this week. The country has had over 420,000 confirmed cases of the virus with 7,000 deaths.