Tokyo Olympics likely to be cancelled: report

The Japanese government has reportedly decided that the Games can't go ahead.

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The Times newspaper reports that the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are likely to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the British paper, the Japanese government has concluded that the Games are doomed. The government has reportedly turned its attention to securing the next available Summer Olympic Games, in 2032.

“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” a senior member of Japan’s ruling coalition told The Times. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for July and August 2020 but were postponed until July-August 2021 as a result of COVID-19.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga disputed the Times report, saying in parliament on Friday that Japan was determined to hold the Tokyo Olympics as planned. The Australian Olympic Committee, too, published a statement on Friday saying it believes the Games will go ahead.

“Both Japanese Prime Minister [Yoshihide] Suga and IOC President [Thomas] Bach have this week strongly reaffirmed their commitment to the Tokyo Olympic Games going ahead in July this year,” the organisation said. “The AOC is continuing its planning to ensuring the Australian Olympic Team arrives in Tokyo, competes and returns home safe and COVID-free.”

Japan is currently in the midst of its third coronavirus wave with case numbers at their highest since the pandemic began. A recent survey showed that roughly 80% of Japanese citizens believe the Olympics should be cancelled.

Only three editions of the Summer Olympics have been cancelled since the birth of the modern Olympic movement in 1896. The 1916 edition was cancelled due to World War I; both the 1940 and 1944 editions were cancelled due to World War II.

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