No Change in Plans to Hold Tokyo Olympics, Kato Suggests

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Tokyo, May 23 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato suggested Sunday that there is no change in the current plans to hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer despite the persistent spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We'll further ensure the safety of Japanese citizens by working thoroughly on containing the virus and proceeding with vaccinations swiftly," Kato, Japan's top government spokesman, said in a television program exactly two months before the July 23 opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

Reacting to the comment by Kato, Toho University Prof. Kazuhiro Tateda, who serves as a member of a panel of experts on the government's basic policy to combat the COVID-19 crisis, said in the same TV program, "It would be difficult to hold the games if Tokyo is placed under a coronavirus state of emergency."

The Japanese government's third state of emergency over COVID-19 currently covers Tokyo and nine other prefectures.

Meanwhile, appearing in a different TV program on Sunday, digital reform minister Takuya Hirai said, "If the lives and health of Japanese people can be protected, Japan will be the first to create a model of holding the Olympics during a pandemic."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press