Tokyo Olympic chief refuses to rule out cancellation of Games

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open in three days, but the head of the Tokyo Organizing Committee refused Tuesday to rule out the possibility of a last-minute cancellation if cases of the new coronavirus among athletes continue to rise.

Toshiro Muto, chief of affairs for the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said at a press conference that he was keeping an eye on the infection figures. He said 71 new cases of crown have emerged since July 1 among people who have been cleared to participate in the Olympics or in some capacity.

“We will continue to discuss if there is a surge in cases,” Toshiro Muto said, adding that “at this moment the number of new crown cases could increase or decrease, so we will consider what we should do depending on the situation.”

But a spokeswoman for Tokyo 2020 said later that Olympic organizers are “100 percent focused on the success of the Games.”

Some corporate sponsors have dropped plans to attend the Olympic opening ceremony Friday. Due to the epidemic, there will be no spectators at the games to reduce health threats.

Japan’s vaccination program is lower than most other developed countries. Japan has had more than 840,000 new crown cases and 15,055 deaths. Tokyo had 1,387 new cases on Tuesday and the number of cases is increasing.

The Olympic “bubble” requires frequent testing for new coronas to limit the movement of participants.

Tokyo Organizing Committee Chairman Seiko Hashimoto (Seiko Hashimoto) said at a press conference that security measures to reassure the Japanese public have not played such a role, and she understands that public support for the Games has declined.

Seiko Hashimoto said, “I sincerely wish to apologize for the dissatisfaction and concern that the public has accumulated about the Olympics.”

Soko Hashimoto said the public is concerned “because they feel that the current situation seems to indicate that the planning guidelines for ensuring safety do not provide a sense of security.”

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said 68 percent of respondents in a poll expressed doubts that Olympic organizers could control the infection of the new coronavirus, and 55 percent said they opposed hosting the Olympics.

Several high-profile athletes, including U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff, have previously withdrawn from the Olympics either because they tested positive for the new coronavirus or because of various other injuries. The South African men’s soccer team will play against Japan on Thursday, one day before the official opening of the Olympics. The South African soccer team has struggled to get 11 players together for the game because of the New Coronavirus.

Mexico’s baseball association said Tuesday that two members of the country’s Olympic baseball team tested positive for the new coronavirus at the hotel where the team is staying before departing for Tokyo.