The Tokyo Olympics Could Be Canceled Again

Japan is grappling with a fourth wave of infections.

Japan is mulling the cancelation of the Tokyo Olympics if COVID-19 continues to spread, a senior Japanese official said. Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, told TBS that if surges in infections continue to swell within 100 days of the start of the games, the organizers could cancel the games again. 

“If it seems impossible to do it any more, then we have to stop, decisively,” said Nikai. The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to launch on July 23, 2021. 

The Tokyo Olympics was originally set for 2020 but was postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic. Despite the postponement, the Olympics Committee retained the “Tokyo 2020” as the official name of the event.

Japan Grapples with Fourth Wave of COVID-19 Infections

Presently, Japan is struggling to contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, which is threatening to cancel the Olympics once again. 

“If the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?” Nikai added.

On April 8, Japan’s vaccine czar expressed fears Tokyo could become a hotbed of infections should the Olympics push through at this time. 

“A new virus variant similar to the one first discovered in the U.K. is quickly spreading in Osaka,” Tara Kono, Japan’s vaccine minister, told CNBC. Kono suggested that the games could push through but would not have spectators.

Osaka is experiencing a fourth wave of infections. On April 14, it recorded 5,482 new cases of a new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant. 

That new variant has already been recorded in Tokyo. 

“We have identified a similar mutation in Tokyo, so we are worried [that] Tokyo may follow Osaka in a couple of weeks. So we really need to be paying attention to the situation,” said Kono. 


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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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