The Japanese government has privately conceded the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will not go ahead because of to the nation’s deteriorating COVID-19 situation.
Citing a senior ruling coalition member, The Times of London reports Japan will announce the cancellation, with a view toward securing hosting rights for Tokyo in 2032, the next available date.
“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source told The Times. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
The news comes after Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and seven other regions of the country after a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Tokyo games have already been postponed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they were scheduled to go ahead on July 23.
The Times’ report comes less than 24 hours after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach reaffirmed a commitment to the games going ahead in Tokyo this year.
Bach declared the IOC had “no plan B” for the showpiece sports event.
“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” Bach told Kyodo News. “This is why there is no Plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these Games safe and successful.”
There has been widespread pushback over the Games being held this year, with the event that is expected to draw 15,000 athletes and staff presenting insurmountable safety risks for organizers.
It is reported 80 percent of Japan’s population is against the Games going ahead in July and August.
Compared with other major nations, Japan has largely managed the spread of the virus; however, a recent spike in cases caused the government to expand the state of emergency across the country’s major cities.
This article will be updated.