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We never thought of cancelling the games, says Tokyo 2020 spokesman

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-23 15:22
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Olympic Games Executive Director of IOC Christophe Dubi waves as Games Delivery Officer of Tokyo 2020 Hidemasa Nakamura and Spokesperson of Tokyo 2020 Masa Takaya are seen at the end of a news conference for the presentation of the version three of Tokyo 2020 Playbook, in Tokyo, Japan June 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - With 30 days to go and the COVID-19 pandemic far from being contained in Japan and the world, the Tokyo 2020 organizers have believed that 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 in an interview at his Harumi office building. "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 emphasized when asked if he was "100 percent" sure about the Games.

What makes him especially confident is that the publication of the playbooks, which outlined all the rules and regulations that have to be followed by all 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" has never crossed his mind despite all the rumors and reports from home and overseas.

"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 of the Games from the Japanese people, Takaya said it was because many people have not been shown a "full picture" of the way how 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."

"The good news is that vaccination progress is going right on the track particularly for the people from overseas. We are getting more confident that we should be able to deliver the 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 the preparation of the Games, he is now expecting a different kind of "success" about the Olympic Games.

"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."

Takaya watched the opening ceremony, basketball and athletics of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It was his first experience with the Olympics on-site and also played a very important role in his career.

"It was such an exceptional experience," he said. "It gave me another big motivation to keep working for all this movement."

Six months after the Tokyo Olympics, the Beijing Winter Games will be held and become the third Olympics to be held in a row in east Asia.

Takaya said all these Games would be "golden opportunities for us" in the region, adding "they will be benefiting from the Olympic and Paralympic movement."

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