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Coronavirus: Japan still planning for Olympics to go ahead in July, says PM Shinzo Abe

By Chris Myson
Shinzo Abe

Tokyo, March 14: Japan are still planning for the Olympic Games to go ahead as planned in July, the country's prime minister Shinzo Abe has said.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the world sporting calendar has seen a host of postponements and cancellations for the upcoming weeks.

Japan has had over 1,400 cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths but Abe is not yet calling a state of emergency after discussions with experts.

The country will continue to work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will have the final say on whether Tokyo 2020 – which is due to start on July 24 – goes ahead.

Tokyo 2020 organisers say Olympics will go ahead despite Trump's suggestion

"We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned," said Abe, who added he had not discussed the prospect of postponing the Games in a call with Donald Trump after the United States president publicly suggested a one-year delay.

"We will continue to closely cooperate with IOC and of course IOC is working closely with WHO (the World Health Organization).

"At present, I assess the situation as there is no need to declare a state of emergency.

"The experts evaluated the current situation. [The outbreak] is holding up to a certain extent and has not progressed to an explosive rise of infection spread.

"I would like to take necessary and sufficient economic and financial policies without delay, while carefully monitoring trends in the global economy and anticipating various possibilities."

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike insisted precautions are being taken ahead of the Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay.

Parts of the route in Greece were suspended to prevent crowds gathering while other sections in ancient Olympia went ahead without any spectators.

"We are taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically," she said.

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Story first published: Saturday, March 14, 2020, 20:20 [IST]
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