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Tokyo Games go ahead "with or without COVID" | Japan Olympic minister

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

14:31 8 Sep 2020

Japan's Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto told a press conference this morning that the postponed 2020 Olympic Games must be held "at any cost".

The Games were due to start on 23 July this year but in April the IOC confirmed the postponement of the event for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Just one month after the new starting date was announced, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cast doubt over the Games going ahead at all when he stated, "it would be impossible to hold the Games in such a complete form unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained” by next July.

Then in May, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled if they can't be staged next summer.

But this morning, in response to remarks made by International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates yesterday when he said, "these will be the games that conquered Covid", Hashimoto was also adamant they would go ahead.

"All the people involved with the games are working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts toward next year under the circumstances they've been handed," Hashimoto said.

"I think we have to hold the games at any cost. I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus."

The comments come just days after the first meeting of a Japanese government panel that has been specially appointed to formulate steps to counter the pandemic.

The panel which includes representatives from the Tokyo metropolitan government and the local Olympic organizing committee and is led by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita will craft safety measures and border control.

Last Friday the metropolitan government  reported 136 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing Tokyo's cumulative total to 21,475.

11,000 athletes from around 200 countries are expected to land in the Japanese capital next summer for the Games.

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