Phil Egan
Phil Egan

11.40 15 Apr 2021


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A senior member of the Japanese government says the Olympic Games may have to be cancelled if the pandemic means they can't be hosted safely.

The Tokyo Games are due to begin in 99 days but won't have any spectators from overseas.

Over 70% of people surveyed in Tokyo by the Kyodo news agency, think the Games should be delayed again, or cancelled because of an increase in the spread of the virus in Japan.

"I want the Games to succeed but to do so there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved," Toshihiro Nikai, part of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said during a television interview.

"If it seems impossible, it needs to be stopped."

Those remarks were the first public admission by the ruling party in Japan that cancellation or postponement were a possibility.

"If the Olympics are going to be the factor causing covid to spread extensively, then what are we holding the Games for?"

“What is most important now is for Japan to gain support from the people," he added.

Nikai also said that hosting the Games was a "big chance" for Japan and that efforts should continue to ensure success.

Nikai later clarified in a statement reported by Kyodo: "What I meant was, if you are asking whether the Olympics and Paralympics should be held no matter what, I would say no."

Japan recorded more than 4,000 new cases on Wednesday, its highest since late January.

Organisers of the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee have both recently insisted the Games would go ahead in a "safe and secure" manner.

Japan has already banned spectators from overseas and a decision will be made in May about limits on domestic spectators.

There is still a chance there is a total ban on spectators at the Games.


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