• Monday, May 10, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

Biden backs Japan PM on holding safe and secure Olympic Games

  • Published at 09:15 am April 17th, 2021
Olympic Tokyo Japan
File photo: The Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower are illuminated with Olympic colours to mark 100 days countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan April 14, 2021 Reuters

The Tokyo Games are due to open in July, with only Japanese spectators in the stands, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic

US President Joe Biden on Friday gave his backing to Japan's efforts to hold a "safe and secure" Olympic Games this year after talk of cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, meeting Biden as the US president's first foreign guest, said his country was listening to experts and doing its "utmost" to prepare for the Tokyo Games.

"They are doing everything possible to contain infection and to realize safe and secure games from scientific and objective perspectives," Suga told a joint news conference.

"I expressed my determination to realize the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a symbol of global unity this summer, and President Biden once again expressed his support," the prime minister added.


Also Read - Health experts: Tokyo Olympics must be reconsidered due to Japan's failure to contain pandemic


A joint statement afterward said that Biden "supports Prime Minister Suga's efforts to hold a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer." 

"Both leaders expressed their pride in the US and Japanese athletes who have trained for these Games and will be competing in the best traditions of the Olympic spirit," the statement said.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, US, April 16, 2021 | Reuters

The Tokyo Games are due to open in July, with only Japanese spectators in the stands, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic.

Uncertainty about their viability has grown amid rising virus cases.

Organizers said Friday that they scrapped another leg of Japan's Olympic torch relay -- the third leg to be affected by a surge in infections -- and that a BMX Freestyle test event scheduled for April 24 and 25 would now be postponed.

A top official from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, caused a stir on Thursday by saying that Japan may need to cancel the Olympics, which have become increasingly unpopular among the Japanese public.

"If infections spread because of the Olympics, I don't know what the Olympics is for," said Nikai, the party's second-most powerful figure.

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