A poster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is placed next to a train door while a commuter with a mask is on a train on Friday looks at his phone in Tokyo on January 31, 2020. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)
TOKYO – Organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games said on Wednesday that they are increasingly concerned about the disruption that the rapidly spreading virus is causing in China before the games, which will open in just under six months.
Chief Executive Officer Toshiro Muto gave serious news at a meeting with representatives of the International Paralympic Committee.
"I am seriously concerned that the spread of the infectious disease could throw the momentum towards the games of cold water," Muto said in Japanese. "I hope it will be stamped out as soon as possible."
Saburo Kawabuchi, the mayor of the athletes' village, which will house 11,000 Olympians, was concerned.
"I really hope that the infectious disease will somehow subside so that we can run the Paralympics and Olympics smoothly," he said. "In the worst case, we will do our best for the athletes so they can focus on doing their best."
Toshiro Muto (right) and Craig Spence, Head of Communication at the International Paralympic Committee, attend a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, 5 February 2020. The organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games announced on Wednesday that they are increasingly concerned about the disruption that the rapidly spreading virus in China will cause with the opening of the games in just under six months. "I am seriously concerned that the infectious disease spreads I hope that it will be eradicated as soon as possible. "(Kyodo News via AP)
The organizers of Tokyo have repeatedly stated that there are no plans to cancel the Olympic Games. This position was repeated by the Swiss International Olympic Committee.
But the problems deepen every day. Some Olympic qualification events have been canceled or postponed. Travel restrictions will create more confusion and traveling fans are sure to be scared.
Japan has not reported any deaths from the virus. However, deaths on mainland China rose to 490 on Wednesday
"In Japan, we face all kinds of problems, including coronavirus infections, cyber security, and transportation systems," Toshiaki Endo, vice president of the organizing committee, said at a press conference Tuesday.
"The IOC is satisfied with our preparations," he added.
Craig Spence, a spokesman for the Paralympic Committee, tried to be reassuring.
"We are fully confident that the responsible authorities, especially here in Japan and in the World Health Organization, will take all necessary measures to address the situation."
Japanese Prime Minister Shino Abe was asked about the virus outbreak and its effects on the Olympic Games in the national parliament on Monday. He brushed aside worries.
Yurkio Koike, the Tokyo government, has expressed more concern in recent comments.
"We must fight the new corona virus resolutely to contain it, or we will regret it," she said.
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