The decision on whether it is possible to go ahead with the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in summer can be made before the official launch of the Olympic torch relay scheduled for March 25, Chairman of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Yoshiro Mori said in an interview with the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper published Friday.
"Naturally, we are considering the worst scenario from various angles. [The issue of holding] the Olympics can be clarified depending on whether the Olympic torch relay begins or of it is postponed," he noted, TASS reports.
Speaking about the option of proceeding with the games without fans, Mori pointed out that this decision can also be made in late March after analyzing the coronavirus situation globally.
On Monday, IOC President Thomas Bach told Kyodo Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics can possibly be rescheduled again or cancelled altogether. Bach underscored that safety of participants remains top priority for the organizers. Moreover, the president did not rule out possibility of reducing the number of fans or holding the games without them.
Later, The Times reported that the Japanese government had privately reached the conclusion that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, citing its sources in the Japanese cabinet.
The Tokyo Olympics was originally planned to be held between July 24 and August 9, 2020. However, the pandemic prompted the decision to reschedule the event to 2021, retaining the Tokyo 2020 brand.
In June, the Tokyo games organizational committee officially spoke in favor of simplifying the format of the event. The Olympic budget shot up due to additional costs relating to the postponement of the games and measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, now standing at $15.9 billion.