Tokyo Olympics: when is the 2021 Games due to take place in Japan - and is it cancelled again?

The future of the already delayed games is in doubt

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Reports are circulating that he already delayed Tokyo games could be delayed (Getty Images)Reports are circulating that he already delayed Tokyo games could be delayed (Getty Images)
Reports are circulating that he already delayed Tokyo games could be delayed (Getty Images)

In March 2020, as Covid-19 tightened its grip on the world, Tokyo Olympics organisers reluctantly pushed back the quadrennial event.

And now questions are being raised about the feasability of the Olympics taking place despite a global vaccination effort.

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While organisers remain adamant that the most viewed sporting event in the world will go ahead, but former organisers have voiced concern over rising Covid cases and the emergence of variant strains of the disease, while a report from The Times suggested that organisers were preparing to pull the plug.

When are the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to take place?

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to kick off on July 23, 2021.

These are set to run until August 8.

What did The Times article say?

A report in The Times claimed that the Japanese government has “privately concluded” that the Olympics and Paralympics will have to be called off due to rising coronavirus rates.

The report from The Times read: “According to a senior member of the ruling coalition, there is agreement that the Games, already postponed a year, are doomed. The aim now is to find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source said.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The IOC issued a statement in which it echoed the response of the Japanese government in describing the report as “categorically untrue”, adding: “The IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”

In a separate statement, the IPC said: “We believe that with the robust measures and plans we have in place, the Games can and will go ahead safely.”

What have organisers said?

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said there is “no reason whatsoever” to believe the the event in Japan won’t go ahead.

Bach told the Kyodo news agency in Japan: “We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

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“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these Games safe and successful.”

He accepted that measures such as reducing capacities or even staging the Games completely behind closed doors would have to be kept in mind.

“You may not like it but sacrifices will be needed,” the German said.

“This is why I’m saying ‘safety first’, and no taboo in the discussion to ensure safety.”

Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Toshiro Muto, meanwhile, said that vaccinations were paving the way for the Olympics to take place.

He said: "There's no doubt [widespread vaccinations in the US and Europe] will have a positive effect.

"But it doesn't solve everything."

He told Reuters: "We are hopeful about the vaccines but, at the same time, I think it is inappropriate to be totally dependent on it."

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