The coronavirus has hit the world hard, and Japan is not an exception, the country with one of the world’s oldest population has so far recorded 5000 cases and 100 deaths. The virus is spreading very fast, and because of that, most or all sports activities in the world have been canceled and postponed. The Olympic games are one of them.
At a news conference, the CEO of the Tokyo Olympic games addressed some issues related to the postponement of this year’s Olympic games.
On Friday, the chief executive of Tokyo games came out to acknowledge the fact that the already postponed Olympic games might not be staged next year. The games had been postponed a month ago with a new opening just under 16 months away.
Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, had issued an emergency declaration earlier this week, putting the country under restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
At a news conference, CEO Toshiro Muto spoke in the hope of finding the cure to the virus as early as possible. “We had made the decision to postpone the games by one year, so this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games,” Muto said “we sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crises” he added. As much as he wants this crisis to be over, he was skeptical about it. “I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get under control by next July or not, we certainly are not in a position to give a clear answer,” Muto had said.
The new date set for 23 July 2021 could be postponed again, depending on the casualties and if the cure would be available on time.
The only hope for the Olympic Games in Tokyo is a cure– will there be a cure?
Are there any alternative plans for 2021? Muto was asked, according to him, all that is needed is effort and the focus on finding a cure as soon as possible. “Rather than think about alternative plans, we should put in all of our efforts, and mankind should bring together all of its technology and wisdom so they can develop treatments, medicines, and vaccines,” he reasoned.
Postponing a game comes at a cost taking into consideration all the preparations that were put in place, Muto was asked about the added value estimated by the Japanese media at between $2bn to $4bn. He claimed the postponement was not clear yet and addressed that the Olympic organizers had taken out several insurance policies.
Fans may have been heartbroken by the postponement, but it seems the government had done all it could to hold the Olympics this year. Even the prime minister was criticized for being slow at acting against the virus, and opposition political leaders had suggested that he did that because he wanted to hold the Olympics this year.
As it stands, citizens and fans must understand that all the measures put in place are there for their protection and safety. Thousands of people are dying every day.
Back to Muto who was also asked about the Olympic flame, the flame that symbolizes the continuity between ancient and modern games which was taken off display this week, “After the Olympic torch relay was canceled, the Olympic flame was put under the management of Tokyo 2020,” Muto said. “Obviously in the future, there is a possibility it might be put on display somewhere. However, for now, it is under the management of Tokyo 2020, and I’m not going to make any further comment on the issue.” was his response
What are fans around the world saying about the postponement? “History in the making right here. Not since the World Wars has there been a disruption in the Olympics, but this is the first time in history they’re being postponed”, says a fan. Another fan asked whether future Olympic games would have to move one year ahead of schedule instead of traditional years because of this recent postponement.
“Cancelling and postponing the Olympics would be entirely understandable and a respected and responsible move given the outstanding potential for the games to provide grounds for exponentially hastening the spread of the virus. Having tons of people from all over the world converge in one spot, become infected, and then go back home is a recipe for disaster.” A fan added, and we can’t agree with him any better.