The leader of Tokyo’s effort to stage the postponed Olympic Games acknowledged Friday that the coronavirus might ultimately preclude the event from being held next year.
Speaking with reporters in a teleconference, Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Toshiro Muto blamed the pandemic’s unpredictability.
“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Muto was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “We certainly are not in position to give a clear answer.”
The Games were originally scheduled to begin in late July but were pushed back to the summer of 2021 when the International Olympic Committee and organizers agreed it would be too dangerous to gather hundreds of thousands of athletes, officials and fans under the current circumstances this summer.
In Japan, a spike in reported COVID-19 cases recently prompted the government to declare a state of emergency for much of the country.
“So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the Games,” Muto said. “We sincerely hope that come next year, mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”
The organizing committee leader declined to address any options beyond July 2021.
“Rather than think about alternatives plans,” he said, “we should put in all of our effort.”