The former chief executive, who organized the London 2012 Olympics says it is “unlikely” that the Tokyo Games will take place this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As Keith Mills, who was deputy chair of the organizing committee for the 2012 London Olympics, said he is sure plans have been drawn up for cancellation and stated that, “But I think they’ll leave it until absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hope,” Mr. Mills told the BBC on Tuesday. “It’s a tough call, I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes.”
Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to start in six months’ time in Japan, but the host city is currently under an emergency order after a rise of coronavirus cases across Japan. But Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, and the International Olympic Committee are both adamant that the Games will go ahead.
The Olympics are scheduled to run from 23 July to 8 August, along with the Paralympics due to following from 24 August to 5 September, but its already ten months on from their postponement, but there is growing concern over the viability of the rescheduled events due to the surge of Corona cases all over Japan. But, the previous week, Taro Kono, who became the first Japanese cabinet minister to admit a decision on hosting the Games was uncertain, and admitted that it “could go either way”.
The postponement of this event has also affected on the monetary sides as the official cost of the Games has increased by 22% to £11.5bn, and with the renegotiation of contracts and more security measures adding £2.1bn to the bill.
Also, in a recent survey, it is found that around 80% of Japanese people want a cancellation or postponement of the event.
Most importantly, more than 11,000 athletes from around 200 countries of the world were scheduled to take part in the Tokyo Games. But as of now, due to the surge in cases, it is not clear that the travel restrictions might hit their participation as Japan’s borders are currently largely closed to foreign visitors and also, the safety of the players is a major concern.
Speaking exclusively to Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money, Sir Keith said, “I think they’ll leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hoped. It’s a tough call.”
“Personally, sitting here looking at the pandemic around the world, it looks unlikely I have to say, added sir Keith Mills”
He further added, “If I was sitting in the shoes of the organizing committee in Tokyo, I would be making plans for cancellation and I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation. They’ve got another month or so before they need to make a call.”
Also, Sir Keith, who now is the chairperson for the Invictus Games for wounded military veterans, said: “It’s not just the infections in Tokyo, it’s the infections in all the competing nations.
“The challenge is whether enough competitors and enough countries can visit Japan and make it a really viable games.
“We shouldn’t forget the Paralympics. Many of the competitors have underlying health conditions so flying around the world competing will be a challenge for them.”