High-Ranking Japanese Gov’t Leader Says Olympic Cancellation Still Possible

Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of Japan‘s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said that canceling the Tokyo Olympics this summer could be an option if the pandemic worsens. The Olympics, originally scheduled for summer 2020, have already been pushed back a full year.

“If it becomes impossible, then it should be called off,” Nikai said on Thursday. “What is the point of the Olympics if it’s responsible for spreading infections? We will have to make a decision at that point.”

The Kyodo News, an agency in Japan, says that it is ‘extremely rare’ for a senior Japanese official to ‘touch on the possibility of canceling the Olympics and Paralympics.’ His comments come just after we passed the 100-day mark before the opening ceremony. Nikai also said, however, that it was ‘important’ for Japan to have a successful Olympics.

“It is a big opportunity. I want to make it a success. We will have many issues to resolve and prepare, and it is important to take care of them one by one.”

According to the Associated Press, COVID-19 cases have been rising across Japan. On Thursday, Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area of Osaka recorded 1,208 new cases. It was the third straight day that new cases surpassed 1,000. Tokyo hit 729, its highest total in more than two months. Japan has attributed 9,500 death to COVID-19 to date.

Prime Minister Toshihide Suga said in a statement there was “no change to the government position to do everything to achieve safe and secure Olympics.”

Meanwhile, Taro Kono, the minister in charge of Japan‘s vaccine rollout, said that the Games may be held without spectators of any kind in order to ensure safety. This would be a step further from the March decision that there would be no foreign spectators allowed.

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OHON Swimmer
2 years ago

I know most of the conversation re Tokyo is about keeping the citizens of Japan safe (as it should be), but for anyone still convinced the athletes will be fine: take a look at what’s happening to the NHL team the Vancouver Canucks. Elite athletes are getting really sick from this, and we know from those football studies that the effects can last a long time.

I get that for some athletes this is their once in a lifetime and their last chance, but for others – and especially the young ones – is this Olympics (without the traditional village experience, without the multicultural bonding, without family and fans in support) really worth risking the rest of your career?… Read more »

3 years ago

False alarm, we all know that the Olympics is gonna happen unless the world manages to explode

trains, shopping, and ekiden
3 years ago

I live in Tokyo. Trains are still crowded. All times of day. That has never changed the entire time. No social distancing. Some people stayed home, leaving trains, STILL crowded. From a safety standpoint, everything here is dangerous, and has always been. Mitigation steps have merely left extremely dangerous (crowded) scenarios unchanged.

Shopping is completely unchecked. No controls at all at stores. Just obligatory social distancing signs and sanitizer. No numbers control of people entering or exiting anywhere. Consumerism and work get a pass. The safety posturing here is absurd. Everyone wears masks (true, EVERYONE) otherwise it would be the worst place in the world for covid, by far. No one talks about trains here, Or shopping. To let… Read more »

Reply to  trains, shopping, and ekiden
3 years ago

Thanks for the insiders view. We had such strict conditions in Australia . So many people per square metre etc etc . I find it very strange that Japan didn’t/ doesn’t

trains, shopping, and ekiden
Reply to  Samesame
3 years ago

They never closed schools here either. School was delayed a week, 1 year ago (school starts in April). This year was all normal. The worse it got for bars, restaurants, and shopping was 8pm close. Some gyms closed to disinfect. No control of numbers or spacing in daily life though, lots of polite posturing with no enforcement. On trains, outside busy times and only in rural areas, people sit every other seat, which is about half a meter in distance. All urban areas are packed.

It’s odd they talk about closing the Olympics when the danger here is blatant and daily and has been for over a year.

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  trains, shopping, and ekiden
3 years ago

So with all that crowding etc in the most populated city in the world, what does that tell us about why the outbreak in Tokyo hasn’t been anywhere near as explosive as in many other places in the world?Shouldn’t it have been?

Reply to  trains, shopping, and ekiden
3 years ago
Breaking Bad News
Reply to  612
3 years ago

…and schools have been open since last August. But relatively speaking, the numbers are much much lower than other places. Why is all the people mixing in Japan not having the same result as all the people mixing elsewhere?

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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