Japan denied reports it wants to cancel the Olympics on Friday and doubled down on its commitment to host the Games this year.
That’s despite a third wave of coronavirus infections and a state of emergency over much of Japan.
A government spokesman told Japan’s parliament there was ‘no truth’ to reports in the Times of London of a cancellation, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the Games will be a quote ‘symbol of humanity overcoming the virus.’
The Times report had cited one unidentified source from Japan’s ruling coalition and that Japan was now focused on rescheduling the Games to 2032.
Saturday marks six months to go before the Olympics are set to kick off in July – already delayed from last year over the pandemic.
In an interview with Reuters ahead of the Times report, Tokyo 2020 chief Toshiro Muto said he was hopeful vaccine rollouts around the world would help make the Olympics safe.
"Once vaccinations are conducted widely in the U.S. and Europe, I think there is no doubt that it will have a positive effect on the Games. However, it doesn't solve everything. I understand that vaccines don't allow us to stop taking all the measures against the coronavirus. We are hopeful about vaccines, but at the same time, I think it is inappropriate to be totally dependent on it."
Recent polls show 80 percent of Japanese do not want the Games to go ahead this summer, afraid athletes arriving from overseas will help spread the virus.