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Japan Olympics minister reiterates Abe’s “complete” games pledge

Tokyo Olympics symbols. Photo: Kyodo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

TOKYO, Mar 17, 2020, Kyodo. Japan’s Olympic minister confirmed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considers the “complete” hosting of the Tokyo Olympics to mean that they will be held on time and with spectators in attendance, despite worries about the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Kyodo News reported.

Hours after Abe on Tuesday relayed that the Group of Seven leaders agreed to support Japan’s hosting of a “complete” games in a videoconference held to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, Seiko Hashimoto held a press conference in which she responded to questions about Abe’s comments.

When asked whether the prime minister intends to hold a “complete” Olympics as scheduled and with spectators present, Hashimoto responded, “That’s correct, that’s what we are aiming for.”

“We will do our utmost to prepare (to hold the Olympics) as scheduled so that the International Olympic Committee will be convinced we are capable of hosting the games,” she added.

An opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News on Monday showed that 69.9 percent of respondents expect the Olympics will not go ahead as planned.

Education minister Koichi Hagiuda backed Hashimoto’s interpretation of the prime minister’s words.

“I believe it was confirmed that with the July 24 (Olympic) opening in mind, everyone will work together to resolve the global health crisis,” Hagiuda said.

“Even if (the coronavirus epidemic) ends on a national scale, if it means fewer countries are participating in the Olympics, we cannot call it ‘complete,'” he said, dismissing an option to reduce the scale of the Summer Games.

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