Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Tokyo Olympic CEO hints games could be in doubt even in 2021

Published:Friday | April 10, 2020 | 10:25 AM
In this June 11, 2019, file photo, Toshiro Muto, CEO of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, listens to questions from the media during a news conference in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

TOKYO (AP) — As the coronavirus spreads in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Games said Friday he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year — even with the long delay.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus, putting the country under restrictions after it seemed it had avoided the spread.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter at a news conference conducted remotely.

”We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

The Olympics were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on August 24.

Abe has been criticised for being slow to act against the coronavirus. Opposition political leaders have suggested he downplayed the severity of the virus and have said it may have been tied to wanting to hold the Olympics this year.

“We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year,” Muto added.

“So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

Muto was asked if there are alternative plans to 2021.

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