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Some Japanese officials apparently view postponement of Tokyo Olympics as unavoidable

All national dailies reported over the weekend that following President Trump’s suggestion on Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics may be put off by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Japanese officials have acknowledged behind the scenes the growing difficulty of holding the international sporting event this summer as planned. 

 

While Prime Minister Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, and other senior Japanese officials have repeatedly stressed their commitment to holding the Olympics as scheduled and the premier sought the cooperation of President Trump and French President Macron in making the games a success in teleconferences with the two leaders on Friday, skepticism is reportedly mounting within the administration about the feasibility of holding the event in July. Asahi quoted an unnamed senior Kantei official as saying that postponement for one year would be possible if a consensus were forged with the U.S. by the end of March, while a high-ranking Tokyo metropolitan government official said postponement would be the “best possible solution in the worst-case scenario.” Tokyo Governor Koike did not to rule out postponement when she reportedly told the press on Friday: “Cancellation is out of the question. So is holding the Games with no spectators.”

 

Sankei added that the Japanese business community is bracing for the possible cancellation or postponement of the Games, noting that one estimate shows that Japan’s GDP would contract by 7.8 trillion yen, or $72 billion, in the event of cancellation.  

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