Published on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Japan: Olympics to go ahead as planned

Japan's minister in charge of the Olympics preparations said the country is fully committed to hosting the Games as planned in July, as coronavirus concerns cast doubt on the ability to keep athletes and fans safe.

"Cancellation or delay of the Games would be unacceptable for the athletes. An environment where athletes can feel at ease and focus should be firmly prepared," Seiko Hashimoto told parliament.

The minister clarified Japan's stance after she had earlier said the agreement with the IOC 'could be interpreted as allowing a postponement' to before the end of 2020.

She said the final decision about hosting the Games rests with the IOC.

A number of sports leagues in Japan have been disrupted or postponed and next month's Asia Sevens Invitational, which acts as a test event for rugby sevens at the Tokyo Olympics, has been cancelled.

Organisers said they will scale down the arrival ceremony for the Olympic torch.

There have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan and a dozen deaths.


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