Japan confident of hosting Tokyo Olympics despite coronavirus, top official

  • TOKYO, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) — Japan has promised to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer as planned despite the seemingly worsening situation of the coronavirus outbreak, the top government spokesman said here on Friday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, “We will coordinate closely with the IOC, the organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government, and move ahead with preparations to make sure athletes and spectators can feel safe and secure throughout the games.” Three people have passed away in Japan and more than 700 people infected, 634 of whom were from the Diamond Princess, a quarantined cruise ship docked off the Yokohama coast. A number of sports events have been affected since some medical experts in Japan warned not to stage big events. The Tokyo Marathon and Nagoya Women’s Marathon both cancelled the entries for the general public. A test event for the Paralympic event boccia, due to take place on February 28, was postponed by the Japan Para Sports Association because of the virus. Tokyo 2020 said in a statement that the 18 other test events, will go ahead as planned. The Olympic torch relay, to start on March 26, will also pose a threat considering hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets welcoming the flame. Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said after the Cabinet meeting on Friday, “If you don’t feel well enough, don’t go to the streets to watch the torch relay.” Xinhua