Newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has confirmed that the Japanese government still plans on hosting the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. The Games were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 but were delayed by a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Suga made the announcement as he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly last Friday;
“In the summer of next year, Japan is determined to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic”, “I will continue to spare no effort in order to welcome you to Games that are safe and secure,”
Suga’s stance echoes that of the International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates from earlier this month. In an interview with AFP, Coates confirmed his determination for the Games to go ahead, saying they will be the “Games that conquered COVID.”
In his message to the UN, Suga explained that the country remains focussed on contributed to pandemic-management in the lead up to the Games;
“Japan fully supports the development of therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics, and works towards ensuring fair and equitable access for all, including those in developing countries,”
To date, Japan has confirmed nearly 83,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,557 deaths.
The support for the Games in 2021 by Suga and Coates was reportedly not echoed by the people of Japan over the summer. A July poll by Kyodo News found that just 23.9% of were in favor of Japan hosting the Games as scheduled for next year.
As for the finances of the Games, a recent report from the University of Oxford suggested that their cost now totals $15.84 billion, nearly 300% what the original budget was.
The new dates of the Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled for July 23-August 8, 2021.