15 Apr 2021

Olympic cancellation still on the cards

4:40 pm on 15 April 2021

Cancelling this year's Olympic Games remains on the cards concedes a senior Japanese ruling party official.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said Japan might have to "give up" on the Tokyo Olympics if rising coronavirus cases in the country made the event "impossible", Kyodo news agency has reported.

"If it's a situation that's absolutely impossible, we need to make a decision without hesitation," he said.

Mr Nikai questioned what the meaning of the Olympics would be if the Games ended up spreading the virus.

Olympic rings are displayed at Japan Sport Olympic Square near national stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mr Nikai is known for his frank comments. Many other ruling party politicians have avoided discussing the hot issue of a possible cancellation.

Japan is grappling with rising coronavirus infections, with numbers trending higher in Tokyo after the government ended a state of emergency, and Osaka posting a record 1,130 new cases on Wednesday.

Experts say the country is in a fourth wave of COVID-19, with official figures showing more than 36,000 active cases, and variant strains putting huge amounts of pressure on the medical system.

Ella Williams,Justina Kitchen, Stacey Flulher, Dan Wilcox, Anna Leat, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Andrea Anacan, Lukas Walton, Callum Gilbert, Paul Snow Hansen and David Liti.
New Zealand Olympic Committee 100 Days to Tokyo Olympic Games at The Cloud, Auckland CBD on Wednesday 14th April 2021.

New Zealand Olympic athletes celebrate the 100 day countdown to the Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The government is pushing ahead with preparations for the Olympics, putting social distancing measures and restrictions on spectators in place.

The Games are set to begin in 99 days.

Polls indicate little support in Japan for holding the Games during a global pandemic. "Canceling Olympics" was trending on Twitter in Japan on Thursday, with more than 20,000 tweets from users.

-ABC/ Reuters