“To be honest with you, I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” Iwata said via teleconference at a forum in Tokyo hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, AP reported. “Holding the Olympics needs two conditions; one, controlling COVID-19 in Japan, and controlling COVID-19 everywhere.”
“I am very pessimistic about holding the Olympic Games next summer unless you hold the Olympic Games in a totally different structure such as no audience, or a very limited participation,” he added.
“You have to invite so many athletes from many, many places, which is not very compatible with this COVID-19 infection that is causing a pandemic. Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer. And I wish we could. But I don’t think that will happen everywhere on Earth,” he continued.
The latest comments come after Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto revealed on April 10 that the summer games may not even take place in 2021 due to the number of coronavirus cases in Japan.
There are more than 10,000 cases of the virus in Japan, and at least 236 people have died as a result, according to the latest Worldometer data. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began issuing emergency declarations in the fight against the virus earlier this month. His delayed response to the crisis has been criticized by many experts and other Japanese government officials, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
Various sporting events, including The Championships, Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, have been canceled in recent months in an effort to stop the spread of the respiratory illness.