Suga denies link between Olympics and surge in COVID-19 cases
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that there is no link between the Tokyo Olympics and the recent surge in the number of coronavirus infections.
At a press conference in Hiroshima on Friday, Suga denied any connection between the Games and the dramatic spread of the virus, saying, “I don’t think that the Tokyo Olympics are the cause of the surge.”
As for how spectators will be handled at the Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 Tokyo Paralympics, Suga said, “The issue will be discussed at the five-party talks [comprising the government, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee and others] after the closing of the Olympic Games.”
Other topics at the press conference included a class action lawsuit related to the black rain that fell in Hiroshima soon after the 1945 atomic bombing. Suga mentioned people under similar circumstances to the plaintiffs. “I would like to decide how to deal with the issue in a speedy manner by holding discussions between the Hiroshima prefectural government, the Hiroshima municipal government and the central government to give relief to such people.” Suga also said he had met with two of the plaintiffs ahead of the press conference and said to them, “You’ve all been put to a lot of trouble for a long time.”
On the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which took effect in January this year, Suga said, “I don’t think Japan will sign the treaty at the moment.”
Concerning the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the general election, Suga said, “It is natural that the government will give priority to measures against the coronavirus infections.”
■ Bach calls Games a success
Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, called the Tokyo Olympic Games a “success” Friday.
Bach held a press conference in Tokyo to sum up the Tokyo Olympics ahead of its closing ceremony. He said, “The Olympic Games have been a powerful demonstration of the unifying power of sport.”
Bach also said that athletes “are extremely grateful for the fact that the Olympic Games could happen.”
Commenting on Japan’s decision to have no spectators at most of the venues, Bach said he had been “concerned that these Olympic Games could become an Olympic Games without soul.”
Bach said that the success of the Games far exceeded his personal expectations. He praised the Games by saying such things as that everyone was grateful for the great Olympic venues, that the friendliness of the volunteers could be a model for other countries, and that the transportation was flawless.
■Paris head lauds Tokyo
Tony Estanguet, the president of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, held a press conference in Tokyo on Friday. Praising the anti-COVID-19 measures at the Tokyo Olympics, Estanguet said that Tokyo proved that the Olympic Games could be held under difficult circumstances and that Japan has dealt with the crisis positively and effectively.
He also appreciated that there were only a few cities that put such great effort into holding the Olympic Games, and said Tokyo’s ability to respond to the pandemic was worthy of a gold medal.