Tokyo Olympics organizers insisted Friday that the coronavirus-postponed Games will still go ahead despite Japan declaring a state of emergency less than 200 days before the opening ceremony.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday announced the month-long measure covering the greater Tokyo area, taking effect from Friday, as the country battles a surge in infections.
Tokyo 2020 chiefs have already said that another postponement of the Games — set to begin on July 23 — is out of the question.
And they insisted Friday that the emergency would not derail plans.
“This declaration of emergency offers an opportunity to get the Covid-19 situation under control and for Tokyo 2020 to plan for a safe and secure Games this summer, and we will proceed with the necessary preparations accordingly,” organisers said in a statement.
Suga said Thursday that Japan is committed to holding a “safe and secure” Olympics, and that he believes public mood will change when the country begins vaccinations, currently scheduled for late next month.
International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told the BBC he could not “be certain” the Games will go ahead, because “the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus”.