Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japan’s Abe says Olympics are on despite virus fears

Japan’s Abe says Olympics are on despite virus fears

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man wearing a face mask walks in the tunnel of a metro station with the board of the official 2020 Summer Olympics advertisment in Tokyo. AFP

Japan’s Abe says Olympics are on despite virus fears

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday resisted pressure for changes to the Tokyo Olympics schedule even as sporting events worldwide fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Abe pledged Japan would host the Games as planned in July and said he had no immediate intention to declare a state of emergency over the virus outbreak, which has now seen more than 140,000 people infected across the globe and over 5,400 killed.

His comments come two days after US President Donald Trump suggested the Japanese capital postpone the Games for a year as the spread of the virus wreaks havoc on the sporting calendar.

“We will respond by closely coordinating with officials concerned, including the IOC [International Olympic Committee]. There is no change in this,” Abe told a news conference.

“We want to hold the Olympics as planned without any trouble by overcoming the spread of infections,” he said.

Organisers, Japanese government officials and the IOC have insisted preparations are on track and there will be no postponement or cancellation.

England’s football Premier League, America’s NBA basketball season and the Augusta Masters golf major are just some of the competitions suspended because of the pandemic.

On Friday, Abe and Trump spoke on the phone about the outbreak and Olympics after Trump proposed a delay.

“We agreed that Japan and the US will cooperate and closely coordinate for success in the Olympics,” Abe said, adding they had not discussed any postponement.

The Japanese parliament on Friday approved legislation that gives Abe the power to declare a state of emergency to combat Covid-19 but Abe insisted such a declaration was not yet necessary.

The coronavirus has infected more than 700 people across Japan and been linked to 21 deaths. Separately, 700 people on board a cruise ship that docked near Tokyo last month were also infected.

A state of emergency would allow local governments to require that people stay indoors, schools close and public facilities limit use.

Land and buildings could be requisitioned for makeshift hospitals.

IOC chief Thomas Bach told German television broadcaster ARD on Thursday that the body would follow recommendations by the World Health Organisation but that work continued for a successful Games.

He acknowledged however that cancellations of Olympic qualifiers are starting to pose “serious problems”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may