After Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the Group of Seven leaders support the Tokyo Olympics Games in its “complete” form, the organising committee announced measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Addressing a news conference on March 17, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee CEO Toshiro Muto announced the steps related to combating COVID-19 which include cancelling some events and restricting public access to others along the torch relay route.
Earlier today, 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.
Hashimoto had dismissed the speculations over possible cancellation or postponement of Tokyo Olympics saying it is “inconceivable”. The Olympics Minister 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.
(With inputs from agencies)