Tokyo: Japanese Emperor Naruhito “appears concerned” about the possibility the Olympic Games could cause the coronavirus to spread as feared by many members of the public said the head of the Imperial Household Agency.
Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Yasuhiko Nishimura told a news conference, “His Majesty is extremely worried about the current situation of the covid-19 infections.”
The games will bring thousands of foreign athletes, officials, sponsors and journalists to Japan during a pandemic, despite caution raised by experts about the risk of infections and the public’s persistent calls for cancellation or further postponement.
Nishimura also urged the organizers to take every possible anti-virus measures so as not to cause the spread of infections at the Olympics and Paralympics, where the emperor serves as the Honorary Patron.
However, the Emperor is the symbol of the state with no political power, but like his father, Naruhito has gained popularity and his words were highly respected.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined to hold the Olympics despite concerns raised by the public and public health experts.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters he did not believe that the chamberlain’s remarks indicated that there were any problems with preparations for the Games, which were delayed for a year by the pandemic.
Muto said, “Our responsibility is to alleviate the concerns of the public and ensure that the Games are held in a safe and secure manner, and we will continue to work at that.”