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Japan Committed to Hosting 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Schedule Even as Coronavirus Spreads

coronavirus infections in Japan

Confirmed coronavirus infections have risen above 1,000 in Japan, with 36 new cases reported on Wednesday, which is the biggest one-day increase to date.

 Japan’s Olympics minister

  • Tokyo: Japan’s Olympics minister said the country is committed to hosting the summer games as planned from July even as the coronavirus outbreak spread to new parts of the country.
Coronavirus spreads as 2020 Tokyo Olympics nears (Photo Credit: Reuters)
  • “Cancellation or delay of the Games would be unacceptable for the athletes,” Seiko Hashimoto said in parliament on Thursday. “An environment where athletes can feel at ease and focus should be firmly prepared.”
  • Japan’s western prefecture of Shiga reported its first coronavirus infection on Thursday, a day after the announcement of a first case in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki.

coronavirus infections in Japan

  • Confirmed coronavirus infections have risen above 1,000 nationwide, with 36 new cases reported Wednesday – the biggest one-day increase to date – in locations ranging from Kumamoto prefecture in the southwest, to Hokkaido in the north. Twelve people have died from the disease, according to the health ministry.
  • The rapid spread of the outbreak has raised questions about whether Tokyo can host the Olympics as scheduled from July 24.
  • Hashimoto told the upper house on Thursday that organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would continue to work together closely. She reiterated the final decision on holding the games as planned rests with the IOC.
  • Japan’s Olympics minister caused controversy earlier this week by saying the contract for the games “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement” within the year 2020.
  • On Wednesday, IOC President Thomas Bach said the words ‘cancellation’ or ‘postponement’ were not mentioned during two-day meeting focused on preparations for the Games.
  • . Asked what made him so confident the Games would go ahead, Bach said the IOC and 2020 Games organisers were receiving expert information, including from the World Health Organization.

Japanese Rugby Football Union announced-

  • On Wednesday, the Japanese Rugby Football Union announced that next month’s Asia Sevens Invitational, which doubles as a test event for rugby sevens at the Tokyo Olympics, has been canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Tokyo marathon was held this month without the participation of non-elite runners, and with fewer volunteers and spectators.
  • Hashimoto told the upper house on Thursday that organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would continue to work together closely. She reiterated the final decision on holding the games as planned rests with the IOC.

IOC President Thomas Bach

  • On Wednesday, IOC President Thomas Bach said the words ‘cancellation’ or ‘postponement’ were not mentioned during a two-day meeting focused on preparations for the Games.
  • Asked what made him so confident the Games would go ahead, Bach said the IOC and 2020 Games organizers were receiving expert information, including from the World Health Organization.
  • (Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Kevin Buckland; Editing by Lincoln Feast & SImon Cameron-Moore)
  • Japan often experiences earthquakes, but an upper-6 is one where it is impossible to stand, windows are likely to break and most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse.
  • In addition, the Mainichi said, the plans call for halting events if the authorities issue a 4 or higher on Japan’s 5-point disaster-warning system for a typhoon or other disaster.
  • The Tokyo 2020 press office did not respond to a request for comment.

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