Tokyo stands firm

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 14 Feb 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers stressed yesterday they are not considering scrapping the Games due to the coronavirus and blasted "irresponsible rumors" to the contrary.

With only 162 days to go until the opening ceremony, concerns have been raised about Japan's hosting of the Games with the virus spreading throughout Asia.

But Tokyo 2020 chief executive Yoshiro Mori slapped down such concerns at a meeting with top International Olympic Committee officials.

"There are many irresponsible rumors but I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering postponing or cancelling the Games," he said. "We would like to coordinate with the national government and act in a calm manner."

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has promised to implement "thorough measures" to protect people from the coronavirus in the run-up to the Olympics.

Japan recorded its first death from COVID-19 from 28 cases on its soil. Another 174 people, including a quarantine officer, have been infected on a cruise ship floating off the Japanese coast.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has come under fire for its handling of the infection, especially quarantine measures seen as too lax.

"These struggles in turn have sparked concerns as Japan prepares for the arrival of millions of international visitors over the summer," said Tobias Harris from Teneo Consultancy.

The mayor of the Olympic Village, Saburo Kawabuchi, said there was "still no clue as to when the virus will be resolved" and appeared to pin hopes on increased humidity to kill off the disease.

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