Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed on March 17 that the Group of Seven (G7) leaders have supported the current plan of “complete” Olympics games even after the coronavirus pandemic. Abe reportedly told the G7 leaders that Japan is doing everything in power to prepare for the games and they want to aim for a complete event as proof that “mankind can defeat the new coronavirus”.
At a news conference, Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said that the term “complete” referred to holding the event as scheduled in the presence of spectators. Earlier, Hashimoto had dismissed the speculations over possible cancellation or postponement of Tokyo Olympics saying it is “inconceivable”. Hashimoto told the Parliament that the athletes have been making adjustments and preparations for this once-in-four-years event and it is inconceivable to cancel or postpone it.
“It is the IOC (International Olympic Committee) who will make a final decision on the Games...we think it is important that the government gives correct information so that the IOC makes an appropriate decision,” said the minister in the Parliament.
Japan has reported over 1,500 coronavirus cases including around 700 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which remained quarantined off the Japanese coast for two weeks. A total of 28 people have died till date including seven from the cruise ship.
After the unprecedented meeting of the G7 heads of state via video conferencing, the leaders released a joint statement acknowledging COVID-19 as a ''human tragedy'' and ''global health crisis'', which also poses major risks for the world economy. The G7 leaders said in the statement that they are committed to marshalling the full power to coordinate on necessary public health measures to protect people at risk from COVID-19.
The group also emphasised on restoring confidence, growth, and protecting jobs and support global trade and investment. “By acting together, we will work to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity,” the statement read.
(With inputs from agencies)