Will take place ?

Will not take place?

Officially, the Japanese government and the International Organizing Committee (IOC) exclude any cancellation or postponement.

Unofficially, the situation would be quite different, according to an article in the British daily The Times, citing a high-ranking source in the ruling coalition.

The Japanese government has reportedly declared the impossibility of organizing the Olympics this year, due to the global upsurge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government is now trying to find the best way to keep up appearances.

"No one wants to be the one to announce it first, but there is a consensus that it is too difficult," said this source.

"Personally, I don't think they will take place."

To save face, the Japanese government would seek to ensure beforehand that Tokyo organizes the Olympic Games of 2032, the next unassigned edition after Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028).

Publicly, however, the time has come for denial.

Deputy Japanese government spokesperson Manabu Sakai said there was "nothing true" in the Times article and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she had "no idea" as to the origin of the information.

Last week, a key minister in the Japanese government, Taro Kono, however expressed a dissenting voice, believing that nothing should be excluded for the Tokyo Olympics.

#Japan 🇯🇵 Once delayed the #TokyoOlympics may not go as planned this summer, Japanese Minister Taro Kono said in an interview with @Reuters


- AsiaNews (@AsiaNews_FR) January 14, 2021

"There is no plan B"

Faced with the multiplication of doubts, the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, himself stepped up to the plate Thursday.

"We have at this moment no reason to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo," Thomas Bach said in an interview with the Japanese agency Kyodo. just six months of the Olympics.

"There is no plan B" and "we are totally committed to making these Games (Games) safe and successful", he insisted.


The President of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), Thomas Bach, declares that there is no plan B and that the Tokyo Olympics will take place from July 23, probably without fans and with a reinforced sanitary protocol.


- Football Club Geopolitics (@FCGeopolitics) January 21, 2021

In March 2020, as the pandemic spread across the world, the IOC took the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games after Australia and Canada said they did not want to send athletes.

According to the Times source, Japan and the IOC would expect a similar event: "If President Biden were to say that the American athletes weren't going then we could say," It's now impossible [that they have place] ", she notes.

Olympics without spectators?

In an interview on January 19 with AFP, the general manager of Tokyo-2020, Toshiro Muto, affirmed that "the holding of the Games [was] our inflexible course" but he did not rule out that these Olympics could be held. with a limited number of spectators or no spectators at all.

The IOC would adapt very well to an edition without spectators since its profits come mainly from the sale of the broadcasting rights of the event.

On the other hand, the local authorities, whose profits are based on ticketing and indirect economic benefits are less favorable to this scenario, notes The Times.

The outright cancellation of the Olympics would also be a financial disaster for Japan, which spent at least $ 25 billion on preparations, three quarters of which was public funds.

When domestic politics are invited

Public opinion is now overwhelmingly opposed to the organization of the Games, preferring a further postponement or outright cancellation, according to recent polls.


"The Japanese are more and more opposed to the Games. Perhaps this is what makes the government evolve, while the Prime Minister is losing momentum in the polls", explains Constantin Simon, France 24 correspondent in Japan . "If the context does not change, it would be health madness and political suicide."

While legislative elections are due to be held in Japan this autumn at the latest, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) would take a huge risk by organizing these Olympics against all odds.

Elected representatives of the opposition have also asked for the postponement or cancellation of the Olympics.

Since their resurrection in 1896 by Pierre de Coubertin, the Olympic Games have only been canceled three times: in 1916, 1940 and in 1944. A cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics would therefore be a first in peacetime.

With AFP

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