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Osaka mayor says Tokyo Games should be postponed to 2024

Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui is seen in this Jan. 21, 2021 photo. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

OSAKA -- Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) leader Ichiro Matsui expressed the view that it will be difficult to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics during the summer of 2021, given the current spread of coronavirus infections in and outside Japan.

    Mayor Matsui spoke to reporters at the Osaka Municipal Government building on Jan. 20 and said, "The whole world is facing unprecedented times. Japan should assume the role of negotiating with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) while aiming for (the Games to be held in) 2024."

    Matsui shared his view that it is impossible for coronavirus vaccinations to be carried out completely throughout the world by this summer. He added, "The worst-case scenario is to cancel the Olympics. I think that Paris is also facing extreme difficulties for preparations as the host of 2024, so the Games should be pushed back by four years each."

    The mayor also touched on the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo, and said, "I suggest that we aim for economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus, and see it as something to enjoy that has just been put off to a later time."

    (Japanese original by Kensuke Yaoi, Osaka City News Department)

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