Nikai: Olympics may be called off if virus situation worsens
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN April 15, The Tokyo Olympics could still be canceled if the novel coronavirus situation gripping the country further worsens, according to a top political heavyweight in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
“We have to give up on holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics once and for all if we have no way to do it,” Toshihiro Nikai, the LDP’s secretary-general, said on April 15. “We would like to make it successful, but we have many issues to solve to do so.”
He made the comments during a recording of a Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) satellite TV program.
When Nikai was asked if cancellation is an option, he replied, “Of course.”
“What is the purpose of holding the Olympics in the first place if it further spreads infections? A decision on the matter should be made when the time comes.”
But at the same time, Nikai said it is “important for Japan to obtain support from the public and set the mood” for the Games, and he reiterated his commitment to holding the event successfully.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has shown a strong desire to hold the Tokyo Olympics and repeatedly said it will be “proof of humanity’s triumph over the virus.”
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike appeared to shrug off Nikai’s comments.
“I have heard that he said (cancellation) is one option," she told reporters on April 15. "We take his comment as a message meant to put the spurs to us and as a call for containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.”