THE Tokyo Olympics will be cancelled, according to reports.
The Times quotes a senior member from the ruling Japanese government who says the aim is now to secure the next available Games in 2032.
The coronavirus pandemic already forced the event back a year, but the unnamed official believes Tokyo 2021 is also doomed.
According to the report, the aim now is to ‘find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation’ that allows the capital to host at a later date.
The source is quoted as saying: “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
And speaking to Reuters, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said only that there is hope Covid vaccinations will have a “positive effect” on the city’s ability to host the games as planned in six months.
“Once vaccinations are conducted widely in the U.S. and Europe, I think there is no doubt that it will have a positive effect (on the Games),” he said.
“However, it doesn’t solve everything.
“We are hopeful about the vaccines, but at the same time, I think it is inappropriate to be totally dependent on it,” he added.
The Sun.co.uk explains that the interview with Muto took place before reports emerged suggesting the Japanese government had made decision to postpone the games.
In an interview with Japan’s Nishi Nippon newspaper on Thursday, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said a decision on whether the Games would go ahead this year would come before the torch relay starts.
However, Muto stressed that this was not the case and no time frame had been discussed.
“Same as cancellation, the postponement hasn’t been (discussed),” he said.
“There is no connection between the torch relay and such decisions.”
Publicly, both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese ruling coalition have said the Games will go ahead as planned.
Earlier, IOC president Thomas Bach insisted there was “no Plan B”.
He said: “We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.
“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful.”
However, Bach did admit that changes to the planned event might have to be made.
He added: “We will need to be flexible. You may not like it but sacrifices will be needed. This is why I’m saying, safety first, and no taboo in the discussion to ensure safety.
“Let me be clear that you cannot compare March 2021 with March 2020 because there is such great progress in science, medicine, vaccination and virus tests.
“All this was not available in March last year. Nobody knew yet how really to deal with the pandemic, and now we know much more.”
Japan is currently in its second state of emergency with latest figures stating 345,221 had tested positive for Covid-19 with a death toll of 4,743.
Tokyo and other major Japanese cities are in a state of emergency amid the pandemic, with public opinion polls showing 80 per cent of the population are against hosting the Games.
At least $25BILLION (£18bn) has already been spent on the Games, with 75 per cent of that coming from the public purse.