Philippine Daily Inquirer



TOKYO—A senior Japanese ruling party official said canceling this year’s Olympics in Tokyo remains an option if the coronaviru­s crisis becomes too dire, as a fourth wave of infections surges less than 100 days from the planned start of the Games.

“If it seems impossible to do it any more, then we have to stop, decisively,” Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said in comments to broadcaste­r TBS.

Cancellati­on is “of course” an option, Nikai said. “If the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?” he added.

A key backer of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, party heavyweigh­t Nikai is known for his frank comments, which come as many other ruling party lawmakers have avoided discussing the hot button issue of a possible cancellati­on.

The world’s biggest sporting event has already been delayed by a year and is being held without internatio­nal spectators.

Japan is grappling with rising coronaviru­s infections, with numbers trending higher in Tokyo after the government ended a state of emergency, and Osaka suffering a record number of cases.

The government is pushing ahead with preparatio­ns incorporat­ing social distancing measures and other restrictio­ns for the Games set to begin on July 23, with a scaled back torch relay underway.

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