The influential leader also declined to comment upon a deadline to decide the fate of the quadrennial event.
Tokyo Governer Yuriko Koike has asserted the importance of hosting the Olympic Games in 2021. She considers the Olympics to be symbolic of the unity in the world in overcoming the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, Japan has had 21,868 confirmed cases of coronavirus infected patients. Moreover, 982 individuals have succumbed to it as well.
However, almost one-third of the cases in Japan have occurred in the capital prefecture of Tokyo. In the first week of July, there have been instances when more than 200 cases have propped up on successive days. This indicates at a surge of COVID-19 affected patients in the city that is the economic hub of the country. Hence, apprehensions have arisen regarding the possibility of hosting the Olympics next year.
In an online interview with Reuters, Koike took a firm stand on this issue. She stated, “I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind.”
However, it needs to be noted that given the ongoing circumstances and the rapidly changing dynamics in most of the countries, it must be rather difficult to make a foolproof decision for an event that 12 months away from now. Moreover, the logistics, preparations and the widespread arrangements that needs to be done for something as massive as the Olympics are humongous.
Accordingly, the Governer was asked about a deadline for deciding the fate of the mega-tournament. Koike refused to comment on the same.
A likely candidate to become the Prime Minister of Japan in the future, the Tokyo Governor has earned laudable recognition for efficient handling of the coronavirus outbreak in her jurisdiction. The Olympics was earlier scheduled to take place in 2020, however, were postponed to 2021 in the wake of the pandemic. Managing to successfully host the games next year could possibly add a wonderful feather to Yuriko Koike’s cap.
On the other hand, if the upcoming edition of the Olympics is indeed cancelled, it will be only the fourth such instance since 1896. Previously, the summer Olympic Games had to be terminated in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the first and the second world wars respectively.