A senior member of Japan’s ruling party has said that cancelling the Tokyo Olympics “remains an option” if the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen.
“If it seems impossible to do it any more, then we have to stop, decisively,” Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic party, said in a TV interview that has yet to be aired.
While Nikai did not call for the Games to be called off, his comments are at odds with the united front presented by the Japanese government, Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee [IOC] – all of which insist that the delayed event will open as planned on 23 July.
The pandemic shows no signs of slowing in several parts of the world, while experts in Japan have warned that the country has entered a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections driven by mutant strains of the virus.
Nikai, a powerful party faction leader who was instrumental in electing Yoshihide Suga as prime minister last year, said cancellation was “of course” an option, telling the TBS network: “If the Olympics were to spread infections, then what are the Olympics for?”
Two days before Andrew Yang announced he was running to be New York City’s next mayor, he made a remarkable admission.
As Covid-19 ravaged the city – more than 50,000 people have succumbed to the virus – the tech entrepreneur had left town, retreating to his second home north of New York.
“We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan,” Yang told an interviewer to explain his decision. “And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?”
Many New Yorkers couldn’t just imagine it, they had lived it – as Yang’s mayoral rivals were quick to point out. But if New York election watchers were expecting that moment to torpedo Yang’s campaign, they were wrong.
Despite a slew of other missteps – Yang’s ill-advised plan to crackdown on unlicensed street vendors, many of whom are impoverished immigrants, and his enthusiastic National Pet’s Day confession that he had given away his pet dog – Yang has led his Democratic competitors in polling since he announced his candidacy.
So can he win?