Tokyo Olympics CEO Warns Games May Not Happen in 2021
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
April 10, 2020
Organizers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics warned this week that athletes hoping to win Olympic gold may not get their chance in 2021 either thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking through an interpreter at a news conference, Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto says he doesn't believe anyone can say whether the outbreak will be under control by next July.
”We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer," Muto said.
Organizers postponed the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games last month amid the coronavirus pandemic and set a new opening for July 23, 2021. The Paralympics would follow three weeks later on Aug. 24.
“We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year," Muto added. “So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Japan has confirmed at least 5,500 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 100 deaths. This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration to battle the virus, giving authorities the ability to pressure people to stay home and businesses close.
The order is expected to last through May 6 and has been imposed in the country's capital, Tokyo, as well as six other prefectures.
At least 685 people have recovered from the virus in Japan.
"Rather than think about alternatives plans, we should put in all of our effort," Muto added. "Mankind should bring together all of its technology and wisdom to work hard so they can development treatments, medicines and vaccines."
Photo: Getty Images