‘Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming Covid-19’


TOKYO: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.
Japan has not seen an explosive Covid-19 outbreak as suffered in some other places but a recent increase in cases in Tokyo, which accounts for more than a third of its more than 20,000 total, has fanned worries about a second wave of infections.
The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the Covid-19. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.
“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike said in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.
A media-savvy former television announcer who speaks English and Arabic, Koike is to many a paradox: a global thinker with a nationalist tinge; a political outsider who advanced with help from old-boy mentors, and a risk-taker who shied away from the big gamble of running for parliament in 2017 as head of her upstart ‘Party of Hope’.– Agencies