Masa Takaya, a spokesperson for Tokyo 2020, has confirmed that the Olympic Games will begin as planned on July 23 this year.
With Japan enforcing strict measures to combat the Covid-19 surge across the country, there was widespread speculation that the Games would become the biggest sporting event to fall to the coronavirus. However, a spokesperson for Tokyo 2020, Masa Takaya, has said there is no question that the Olympics will take place this summer having previously been postponed last year.
“To be very clear, we have never discussed another postponement of the Games,” said Takaya.
“We have 100 per cent concentration and focus on the delivery of a safe and secure Games this summer.
“The Covid situation is of course still an ongoing issue for everyone in the world but we will deliver the Games this year, starting July 23.”
With 80% of Japanese people saying in a recent poll that they do not want the Games to go ahead in Tokyo this year, there is pressure on the Japanese government to postpone the Games until it is safe to host them.
Many believe it would be difficult to run an event of this magnitude even if only the athletes were involved. However, Takaya stated that the Olympics will not go ahead without spectators attending the events.
“We are not willing to see the Games behind closed doors, without spectators.
“In an ideal world the Games should be taking place in an atmosphere of celebration, composed by spectators and that is what we want to achieve.
“The Games is also a part of the world; we are part of the society so we need to keep closely monitoring the Covid situation and how the sporting events will be conducted and in what form.”
It remains to be seen how feasible it is to host an international sports competition during a global pandemic, but it seems as though the Olympic Games will begin on July 23 regardless of the circumstances.