The president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori on Tuesday tried to reassure the doubtful Japanese public that the Games will open in just over six months.
Two polls taken in the last few days show that out of the Japanese people surveyed, just over 80% of them think the Olympic Games should be cancelled or postponed. Some believe they won’t take place due to the surge in new cases of COVID-19 in Japan.
In what was billed as the New Year’s address, Mori gave a little pep talk aimed at the opening of the Tokyo Olympics on 23 July this year. “Spring will always come, morning will surely come even after long nights,” he said. “Believing in that, to give joy and hope to many people, we will do our best until the end,” he added.
‘We have to proceed as planned. There is no other way to respond’
Tokyo Olympics organizers and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have repeatedly said that the Games will open during the pandemic. However, they have given few specifics and have said detailed plans will be revealed in spring.
It is a gigantic task. More than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from 200 nations and territories will have to enter Japan. Along with that, tens of thousands of other officials, coaches, and judges will have to be accommodated. No decision has been made public about fans being able to attend venues. It’s also unclear if foreign fans will be permitted.
Optimism of the organizers has been put into question by the state of emergency announced in Tokyo and surrounding areas by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Japan had achieved moderate success in controlling the infection of the virus. But now the cases are rising with 4,000 deaths in Japan attributed to the dreaded virus. The country has a population of 126 million.
“If I get caught up in my thoughts, or if I flinch, or get a little lost in my mind – it affects everything,” Yoshiro Mori said. “We have to proceed as planned. There is no other way to respond,” he added.