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Olympics could be cancelled, admits Japan state official

Cancelling the Olympics still remains a possibility, a Japanese state official has warned. 

Speaking to local TV in the country, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary general Toshihiro Nikai said that the event could be cancelled should Japan’s Covid-19 situation worsen.

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

While countries such as the UK appear to have the situation under better control with a fast vaccination rate, Japan is currently bracing itself for a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, with the spread rapidly increasing over the past month.

A report from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has criticised Japan’s ‘poor performance’ in containing transmission, while research author Kazuki Shimizu has said that “Plans to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer must be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.”

While recent polls from within the country have found that 70% of the Japanese population do not want the games to go ahead, Nikai has addressed his comments and issued a statement which said: “What I meant was, if you are asking whether the Olympics and Paralympics should be held no matter what, I would say no.”

In the wake of these statements, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto bluntly stated that “We’re not thinking of cancelling the Olympics.”

In a statement on behalf of the organising committee, the president said: “We will continue to do what we can to implement a thorough safety regimen that will make people feel complete safety.”