News ID: 275621
Published: 0259 GMT October 17, 2020

Japanese PM Suga will ‘make sure’ Tokyo Games take place next year

Japanese PM Suga will ‘make sure’ Tokyo Games take place next year

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga intends to "make sure" the Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in Tokyo next year.

Suga, who succeeded Abe Shinzo as Prime Minister in September, made the comments during a speech at Kyodo News' head office in the Japanese capital, reported.

"I want to make sure I see the Olympics take place next year," Suga said.

He also claimed the successful staging of Tokyo 2020 would be "proof that the human race has conquered the virus."

The Olympics have been postponed to July 23-August 8, followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers now have to plan for the Games against the backdrop of the global health crisis.

A coronavirus countermeasures task force, formed of officials from the Japanese government, Tokyo metropolitan government and Tokyo 2020, is assessing possible scenarios and measures that could allow the Olympics to run as scheduled next year.

Policies are expected to be announced before the end of the year.

These are likely to include a mechanism for lifting the entry ban on foreign tourists, which is currently in place for 159 countries and regions.

Measures may include a health-checking app, mandatory testing and health insurance, and exclusive health centers for tourists.

The new prime minister identified rescuing the tourism industry as a key policy, and it is one which will aid the efforts of Tokyo 2020 organisers. 

"I hope to revive inbound tourism by somehow surviving this coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"Unless we balance measures against the novel coronavirus infections and the economy, Japan itself will not be able to keep up."

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is expected to visit Japan next month to meet Suga, with the pair already holding a 15-minute telephone call last month.

Bach and Suga expressed their commitment to making the Games "safe and secure" for both athletes and spectators.




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