'Categorically untrue': Japan denies report Tokyo Olympics could be cancelled

TOKYO – Japanese officials on Friday vehemently denied a newspaper report suggesting the Olympics, due to take place in the country this summer, could be canceled.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo Originally planned for 2020, they were postponed 10 months ago after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

The local Olympic Games Organizing Committee said in a statement that the Games would go as planned and would be supported by Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

A further statement by the Cabinet Secretariat on behalf of the Japanese government also rejected the report.

“Some news floating around today claims that the Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games must be canceled. This is categorically wrong,” the statement said.

All parties involved, including the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee (IOC), were working “together to prepare for the successful Games this summer” and would “implement all possible countermeasures against Covid-19”.

The rejections come according to a British newspaper The Times of LondonCiting an anonymous source allegedly a member of the ruling coalition, it was reported that the games could be canceled. The government was looking for a way to announce the cancellation to secure Tokyo as the future host.

Manabu Sakai Japan’s deputy cabinet secretary and an ally of the prime minister also shot the story down. “This report is absolutely not true,” he told the press on Friday.

During the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike went ahead and called for possible action against the newspaper.

“I don’t even know how this is reported or how this information was obtained. I think we should file a complaint. That’s how I feel,” she said during her regular press conference on Friday.

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The IOC in a statement reiterated the Japanese government’s message, saying it was committed to the successful delivery of the Games this year.

Around 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of coaches, officials and broadcasters will take part in the Tokyo Games.

NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, owns the US media rights for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Japan has reported fewer than 5,000 deaths from the coronavirus and treated the virus better than most countries. However, the surge is not easing in Tokyo, while vaccines have not yet been introduced in the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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