The International Olympic Committee and Japanese government released a statement Friday disputing a published report that the rescheduled Olympic Games are “doomed” and will be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the Japanese government called the report “categorically untrue” and said it is proceedings with plans for the Games to begin July 23.
The Times (UK), citing an unnamed senior member of the ruling coalition, reported that the Japanese government has privately conceded the Games will be canceled because of the pandemic and have begun targeting the 2032 open date instead. Much of Japan is currently under a state of emergency after a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
In response, the IOC issued what it described as a “strong and clear statement,” insisting that report was unfounded.
“We will be implementing all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and will continue to work closely with the IOC, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer,” the Japanese government said in the release.
The IOC echoed that statement, adding: “Together with its Japanese partners and friends, the IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”
On Thursday, IOC president Thomas Bach said there is “no plan B” for the Tokyo Games and that, at the moment, there was “no reason whatsoever” to believe they wouldn’t be held as scheduled this year. Japan Olympic Committee head Yasuhiro Yamashita told Reuters the Times’ report was “a fabrication.”
The men’s golf portion of the Olympics is set to begin July 30 and run through Aug. 2, while the women’s tournament will be held Aug. 5-8. Both events will be held at Kasumigaseki Country Club.