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.
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.
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.