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Never thought of cancelling the Games: Tokyo 2020 spokesman

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Tokyo, June 23 (IANS) With 30 days to go and the Covid-19 pandemic far from being contained in Japan and the world, the Tokyo 2020 organisers believe the Games will take place on the night of July 23.

“Our preparation is in the very final stretch,” Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya told Xinhua. “Tokyo 2020 is absolutely focused on delivering the Games this summer starting on July 23.”

“All parties are fully focused on delivering the games,” he emphasised when asked if he was “100 per cent” sure about the Games.

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What makes him confident is the publication of the playbooks, which have outlined all the rules and regulations that have to be followed by the athletes, officials and media personnel.

“We are now asking all the participants to follow these rules and regulations so that we should be able to deliver a safe and secure Games.”

Takaya, who became the spokesperson of Tokyo 2020 four years ago, described the past year after the Games had been postponed as a “long journey,” but the idea of “cancellation” never crossed his mind despite all the rumours and reports from home and overseas.

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“I never thought that way,” he said. “The postponement was always a shock for anyone. But we all knew it was the right decision. So, all of us involved in the preparation were fully convinced that this was the right decision to postpone it to the next year.”

Public opinion polls conducted every month by different Japanese media outlets have shown declining support for the Games among the Japanese people. But Takaya said it was because many people have not been shown the “full picture” of the way the Games will be held.

“We need more efforts to convey our message that we can deliver the Games,” he said. “We will provide robust countermeasures.

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“The good news is that vaccination is going right on track, particularly for the people from overseas. We are getting more confident that we should be able to deliver a safe and secure games.”

Takaya got involved in Tokyo’s last bid for the 2016 Olympics and eventually helped the Japanese capital secure the right to host the 2020 Games as the communications manager. After experiencing the whole process of preparation of the Games, he is now expecting a different kind of “success”.

“These Games are going to be the first global event after the global pandemic. So, at the end of the day, after the closing of the party, we should be able to find the big feeling of the spirit of solidarity among people around the world. And when we see it, that’s going to be the element for the big success.”

–IANS

akm/in

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