Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday vowed to hold the Olympic Games this summer as he declared a state of emergency in Tokyo following the surge in coronavirus cases.
New daily cases of coronavirus in Japan surpassed 7,000 for the first time on Thursday. About half of that COVID cases come from the national capital area, including a record 2,447 new infections in Tokyo, NHK World reported.
"The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country has created a situation that could have a serious impact on people's lives and the economy. Therefore, I hereby declare a state of emergency based on the anti-virus law," NHK World quoted Japan PM Suga as saying.
The Japanese Prime Minister, however, exuded confidence and said the Tokyo Olympics would be staged this summer despite the emergency.
According to NHK World, Suga further said that the Japanese government hopes to begin vaccinations by late February and said he is determined to hold the postponed Olympics and Paralympics this year.
The Tokyo Olympic games were postponed last year due to the pandemic. The showpiece event will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, while the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.
In November last year, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission Chair John Coates returned to Japan, for the first time since February 2020, with IOC President Thomas Bach for the Joint International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 Project Review.
The meetings, held between November 16 and 18, reaffirmed the full commitment of all partners to deliver Olympic and Paralympic Games fit for a post-corona world in 2021.