The Olympic rings are lit up in front of Tokyo’s National Stadium on January 22, 2021. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
During a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Saturday, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his support for the Tokyo Olympics, emphasising the need of enforcing public health measures to ensure the safety of all engaged.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed last year owing to the global spread of the coronavirus, are set to begin on July 23, despite widespread resistance from the general public, many Japanese businesses, and medical personnel.
At a meeting with Suga on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in the British seaside resort of Carbis Bay, Biden also raised a range of other issues including COVID-19, North Korea, China and climate change, the White House said in a statement.
“President Biden affirmed his support for the Tokyo Olympic Games moving forward with all public health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff and spectators,” it said.
“President Biden expressed pride in the U.S. athletes who have trained for the Tokyo Games and will be competing in the best traditions of the Olympic spirit,” it said.
The remarks matched a similar message made by Suga on his visit to Washington in April.
Despite the fact that Tokyo is dealing with a fourth wave of illnesses and is in a state of emergency, the Japanese government and organisers have stated that the games would go on – barring “Armageddon” as one International Olympic Committee (IOC) member put it.
Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto said on Friday that she would be “grateful” if the G7 countries could support the Summer Games going forwards as planned.