Tokyo Olympics must go on ‘at any cost’ even if coronavirus lasts into 2021: minister

The rearranged Tokyo Olympic Games must be held “at any cost” in 2021, Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference, Hashimoto said the Games should be held for the benefit of the athletes, regardless of the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus: 2 employees of Tokyo Olympic organizers positive for COVID-19

The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee took the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, originally scheduled to begin in July, until 2021 because of the virus.

“Everyone involved with the Games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts towards next year,” Hashimoto said during a news conference.

“I think we have to hold the Games at any cost,” she added. “I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Venues for 2021 Games secured, competition schedule stays the same

Officials from the Japanese government, local Tokyo government and the Olympics organizing committee met for the first time last week to develop steps to counter the coronavirus at the Games.

In an interview with Reuters in July, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said organizers were preparing to host the Games next year even if the global coronavirus pandemic hasn’t eased substantially.

Organizers are looking at over 200 proposals on how best to deal with the virus, including easing travel restrictions for foreign athletes, anti-virus measures at the Athletes’ Village and how to handle spectators.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Richard Pullin)

1:38 Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

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