Tokyo Olympic CEO Hints Games Could Be in Doubt Even in 2021

April 10, 2020 Updated: April 10, 2020

As the CCP virus spreads in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Games said on April 10 he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year—even with the long delay.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, putting the country under restrictions after it seemed it had avoided the spread.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter at a news conference conducted remotely. “We’re certainly not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a mask attends an ordinary session at the upper house of parliament in Tokyo on April 2, 2020. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

The Olympics were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.

Abe has been criticized for being slow to act against the CCP virus. Opposition political leaders have suggested he downplayed the severity of the CCP virus and have said it may have been tied to wanting to hold the Olympics this year.

“We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year,” Muto added. “So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

Muto was asked if there are alternative plans to 2021.

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Mask-clad commuters head to work through a street connecting from Shinjuku railway station in Tokyo on April 9, 2020. (Kazuhiro Nogii/AFP via Getty Images)

“Rather than think about alternative plans, we should put in all of our effort,” he said. “Mankind should bring together all of its technology and wisdom to work hard so they can development treatments, medicines, and vaccines.”

Japan has reported about 5,000 cases and 100 deaths. The country has the world’s oldest population, and COVID-19 can be especially serious for the elderly.

Muto was asked several times about the added costs of postponing, which has been estimated by Japanese media at between $2 billion-$6 billion. He said it was too soon to know the price tag and who would pay.

He also acknowledged that Tokyo Olympic organizers had taken out insurance.

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Women wearing masks amid concerns of the CCP virus leave after looking at the Olympic Flame which was passed from Tokyo 2020 to Fukushima Prefecture at the J-Village National Training Center in Naraha on April 2, 2020. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images)

“Tokyo 2020 has taken out several insurance policies,” he said. “But whether the postponement of the games qualifies as an event that is covered is not clear yet.”

He was also asked about the Olympic flame, which was taken off public display this week in Fukushima prefecture. Muto had an away-from-the-microphone talk with Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya before talking about the flame.

“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.”

There are suggestions the International Olympic Committee is thinking of taking the flame on a world tour, hoping to use it as a symbol of the battle against the CCP virus. However, any tour would be impossible until travel restrictions are lifted.

Taking the flame away from Japan could also upset the hosts.

By Stephen Wade

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.