Tokyo Olympics preparations to continue, Abe tells Trump
TOKYO – Preparations for the Tokyo Olympics will continue to be on track despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday told US President Donald Trump, who suggested the games be postponed.
During the phone conversation, Abe told Trump about Japan's efforts towards holding the Olympics, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
The two leaders agreed to coordinate closely with each other over the holding of the events, Suga said.
About 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in the games, which are set to kick off on July 24. The Paralympics are due to start on August 25.
"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo organizers are not considering the cancellation or the postponement of the Games at all," Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto also told reporters.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, Trump said "I just can't see having no people there, in other words, not allowing people. Maybe, and this is just my idea, maybe they postpone it for a year."
The president's comment came one day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
The IOC said Thursday it was confident the Tokyo Games could be held as planned.
The IOC remains "absolutely in line with our Japanese hosts in our commitment to delivering safe Olympic Games in July this year."dpa