Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has said his is concerned about the Tokyo Olympics due to begin at the end of next month.
The Emperor of Japan, 61, is “extremely worried” that the Olympics and Paralympics will result in the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. In a press conference this week, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, Yasuhiko Nishimura said that Naruhito has expressed his concern over the games.
“His Majesty is extremely worried about the current situation of the COVID-19 infections. While there are voices of unease among the public, I believe [the Emperor] is concerned that holding the Olympics and Paralympics … may lead to the expansion of the infections,” he said.
He also urged organisers to “take every possible anti-virus measures so as not to cause the spread of the infections at the Olympics and Paralympics, where the Emperor serves the Honorary Patron.”
The Emperor was due to open the games last year, but the Imperial Palace has said plans for any attendance at the games by His Imperial Majesty have not been finalised.
However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, thinks Nishimura shared “his personal views” instead of those from Emperor Naruhito.
The Emperor shared his thoughts on the pandemic on Monday while at an academic award ceremony: “In order to overcome this challenge, it is important for all of us, in and outside of Japan, to bring our hearts together and cooperate.”
The Japanese public and health experts have also shared their concerns about holding the games this year, but Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined that his country will host the 2020 Olympic Games this year.
The Olympics kick off on 23 July and the Paralympics start a month later. They were due to take place last year, but the global health situation forced their postponement.