Jan. 22 (UPI) — The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee on Friday both denied a news report that claimed key officials expect they will have to cancel the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo due to ongoing threats related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Times of London reported Thursday that Japan’s government has “privately” concluded that staging the games are impossible and is now focusing on winning the Summer Olympics in 2032.
Friday, government officials and the IOC denied the Times report.
“Some news reports circulating today are claiming that the government of Japan has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled because of the coronavirus. This is categorically untrue,” the government said in a statement Friday.
“All parties involved are working together to prepare for a successful Games this summer.”
The Japanese government added that it will implement “all possible countermeasures” to make the Games as safe as possible in the COVID-19 era.
Thursday, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be held, and that there is no “plan B” to postpone again.
“The IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the IOC added in a statement Friday.
The 2020 Olympics were postponed last year until 2021, the first time any Games were rescheduled. Multiple Olympic Games were canceled outright during World War I and World War II.
Organizers had already announced a simplified, more stripped-down plan for the ceremonies and pageantry at the Games, which are still officially known as the 2020 Summer Olympics and are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8.
“The IPC, IOC, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and all delivery partners are fully committed and focused on delivering safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer,” the International Paralympic Committee added in a statement Friday.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said he supports the Games and predicts that the Tokyo Olympics will stand as “proof that humanity defeated the coronavirus.”
Like many nations, Japan has also seen rising cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. The country reinstated a state of emergency this month and imposed tighter restrictions after a new, more contagious coronavirus strain appeared this month.