The head of Japanese beverage group Suntory Holdings, who is also a government adviser, said he was uncertain whether Japan can host the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that the decision would likely be made by end-March.
“I’m not sure whether we’ll be able to hold the Tokyo Olympics or not,” Suntory CEO Takeshi Niinami, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, told Reuters in an online interview on Wednesday.
“But it’s a great message to the world, as overcoming the battle against COVID. Definitely, we should make every effort.”
Japan initially managed to avoid the kind of explosion in coronavirus cases seen in countries such as the United States, but infections have risen steadily and the government has declared a second state of emergency for areas including Tokyo.
Government officials insist they are preparing for the Olympics this summer as planned, following last year’s postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic. But polls have shown the public’s hope for the Games have faded.
Niinami said that a decision will likely be made by the end of March, as the third wave of infections will likely continue through the end of February or early March.
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