Tokyo Olympics: Japanese government 'privately conclude' that Games will have to be cancelled

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The threat of cancellation for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics appears to be looming closer, with a report suggesting in The Times that the Japanese government have privately concluded that the Games must be cancelled.

The focus now appears to be on how Japan can announce the news, whilst still leaving the door open for the Olympics to be staged in the country at a later date.

Paris and Los Angeles are set to host the 2024 and 2028 editions, but Japan could be in a position to host the 2032 Games, which are set to be assigned in 2025.

A government source explained: “No one wants to be the first to say so, but the consensus is that it’s too difficult. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The Olympics and Paralympics were originally due to be between July and September last year, but were postponed last March once the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold around the world.

At the time, a joint statement released by the Tokyo 2020 organisers and the IOC stated that the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

However, Japan has seen a rise in coronavirus cases over the winter months, which led to the government declaring a state of emergency for several major cities, including Tokyo.

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The announcement of increased restrictions on Tokyo, which came on January 7, was made on the same day that 2,447 positive cases were recorded in the Japanese capital; a daily high.

In two recent surveys conducted by Japanese news and broadcasting agencies, it was revealed that more than 80% of people in the country are against the hosting of the Games.

Another concern to take into account is the entry into Japan of over 15,000 Olympic personnel, as well as sponsors, media and broadcasters.

The IOC have suggested holding a fully televised Olympics, with every event staged behind closed doors. That idea is not believed to be supported by the Japanese authorities, however, who would lose money from ticket sales should no fans be able to attend the events.

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