The Japanese government has privately resolved the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.
The news agency cited The Times newspaper quoting a senior ruling coalition member.
The Japanese government’s focus was now on ensuring the games for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032, the newspaper said.
Japan has been hit less seriouslyby the pandemic than many other advanced economies, but a recent wave in cases has pushed it to close its borders to non-resident foreigners and declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and major cities.
About 80 per cent of people in Japan do not want the Games to be held this summer, recent opinion polls show, over fears the influx of athletes will spread the virus further.
Against this backdrop, the government was seeking a way to save face by announcing a cancellation that leaves the door open to Tokyo hosting at a later date, The Times report stated.
“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” it quoted the source as stating. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Games organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Organisers and the Japanese government have previously vowed to press ahead with preparations for the Games, scheduled to open on July 23.