Tokyo: Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said on Thursday that Japan was still preparing for the Summer Games as planned, after earlier this week raising the topic of postponement amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Cancellation or delay of the Games would be unacceptable for the athletes,” Hashimoto said before the Upper House budget committee. “An environment where athletes can feel at ease and focus should be firmly prepared.”
Hashimoto added that organisers and the International Olympic Committee would continue to work together closely.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Olympics have contingency plans to cancel competitions in the event of a strong earthquake or other natural disaster, the Mainichi newspaper said.
The Mainichi said there are event-specific plans for natural disasters that regularly strike the island nation.
Under the plans, competitions would be cancelled if the venues were hit by a quake measuring an upper-6 or 7 on Japan’s intensity index, which runs to 7, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sources involved in the organising committee.
Unlike a magnitude reading, which measures the inherent strength of a quake, intensity measures the amount of shaking felt at a given place.
Japan often experiences earthquakes, but an upper-6 is one where it is impossible to stand, windows are likely to break and most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse.
In addition, the Mainichi said, the plans call for halting events if the authorities issue a 4 or higher on Japan’s 5-point disaster-warning system for a typhoon or other disaster.
The Tokyo 2020 press office did not respond to a request for comment.
A powerful typhoon forced the cancellation of three matches in last year’s Rugby World Cup.