Tokyo organisers refute Olympics cancellation

TOKYO (XINHUA) – Organisers of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have promised that the Games will not be cancelled despite the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported that Tokyo 2020 has assured athletes and fans there will be “absolutely no cancellation” of the Games to be held from July 24 to August 9.

The organisers added that “every possible measure” will be taken to mitigate the threat.

A total of 45 people in Japan are confirmed to have been infected with the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.

Tokyo organisers said they plan to focus countermeasures in two main areas: preventing infection within the organising committee itself so preparations are not hindered, and preventing and responding to the possible infection of the world’s top athletes during the games, the report said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier that Japan will coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and others “to make sure that preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics will proceed steadily without impact from the outbreak”.

This is the second time in less than a week that Olympic organisers have emphasised their desire to continue to host the Games in spite of the epidemic. “We have never considered cancelling the Games,” Tokyo 2020 said in a statement last Friday.

“We will work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other relevant organisations and review any countermeasures whenever necessary.”

Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto also expressed her confidence that Tokyo would host a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in less than six months’ time.

Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto