With just under five months before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on July , organizers in Japan and at the International Olympic Committee say they are confident the Games will go on.
At a news briefing o n Wednesday, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said that preparations for the Games were proceeding “as planned,” adding that the Olympic torch would begin its journey to Japan in March as scheduled.
The IOC has also declined to entertain the possibility that the Games might not take place as planned.
But sporting events in Japan and elsewhere are already being canceled, as governments try to discourage large gatherings in major cities . In preparing for the Olympics, Japan had focused on the prevention of measles and rubella, sexually transmitted diseases and food poisoning.
A new disease, like the coronavirus, was not central to its calculations.
“I’ve never seen an Olympic organizing committee asked, ‘Are you prepared for a global pandemic?’” Said Terrence Burns, a veteran Olympics consultant.
Reporting and research was contributed by Russell Goldman, Carlos Tejada, Choe Sang-Hun, Zoe Mou, Daniel Victor, Roni Caryn Rabin, Denise Grady, David Yaffe-Bellany, Ed Shanahan, Andrew Keh and Ben Dooley.