SPORTS Tokyo Olympics on, organisers say, as virus hits Japan events

SPORTS

Tokyo Olympics on, organisers say, as virus hits Japan events

AFP

18:46, February 26, 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are going ahead, organisers said Wednesday, even as the government called for major events in coming weeks to be postponed, cancelled or scaled back over the new coronavirus.

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File photo: CGTN

The fate of the Summer Games has been in the spotlight as the outbreak of COVID-19 forces the cancellation and delays in Japan of everything from football matches to the rituals that mark the opening of the March sumo tournament.

But organisers have been at pains to insist that Olympics and Paralympics scheduled for the summer are not in danger of being scrapped.

"We have not thought about it. We have not heard about it. We have made inquiries, and we were told there is no such plan," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.

"Our basic thinking is to conduct the Olympics and Paralympics as planned. That's our assumption."

Muto said organisers would consider how to respond to the call from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday for organisers of major events in the next two weeks to cancel, postpone or downsize the gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"We will make decisions by reviewing events individually," he said.

But he said the torch relay scheduled to begin March 26 in Fukushima and travel across the country would not be cancelled, though he acknowledged adjustments might be necessary.

"We are absolutely not considering cancelling it. But we will think about how we can hold it in ways that won't lead to the spread of the virus, including reducing its scale," he added.

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