Japan’s Suga tells UN Tokyo is ‘decided’ to host Olympics | Japan
In the UN’s debut speech, the new prime minister says Japan is determined to host the Olympic Games as mankind has defeated the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has told the United Nations General Assembly that his government is determined to host the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after the games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Games were originally scheduled for this summer but were postponed for a year in March by the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government.
“In the summer of next year, Japan is determined to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to prove that humanity has defeated the pandemic,” Suga said in a taped message on Friday.
“I will continue to go out of my way to welcome you to safe games,” said Suga in his debut address to the United Nations as Japan’s new leader.
Suga became prime minister this month after Shinzo Abe resigned due to ill health.
The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday suggested reducing the number of staff at the Summer Games next year and reducing the opening time for the training venues in order to run a streamlined event amid the pandemic.
Medical experts have warned that the huge international event could be difficult to sustain if the pandemic is not under control by next summer, but Olympic officials insist that the Games go on. John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, said “This has to happen” Friday, quoting athletes who would be devastated by a cancellation.
The enthusiasm for the Games seems to have subsided in Japan. Polls this summer showed that only one in four Japanese would like this, and most are in favor of either another postponement or an outright cancellation.
Japan has more than 81,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,500 deaths.
In his video message, Suga called for a multifaceted approach to tackling the global pandemic and said Japan will work to ensure that people in developing countries have equitable access to coronavirus treatments and vaccines.
“Japan fully supports the development of therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics and is working to ensure fair and equitable access for all, including those in developing countries,” he said.
As part of its moves to help developing countries hit by the pandemic, Japan is offering emergency loans of up to $ 4.5 billion, Suga said.
The Japanese prime minister also told the UN assembly that he was ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions to resolve the longstanding problem of Japanese citizens kidnapped from the north decades ago, and reiterated his predecessor’s position.
“Building a constructive relationship between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides, it will also make a major contribution to regional peace and stability,” he said.