The deputy head of Japan's Olympics Committee has coronavirus after reportedly experiencing a mild fever on Sunday after returning from a trip to Europe and the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Kozo Tashima, who is also the president of Japan's Football Association, was in Orlando, Florida on March 5 where he watched the Japanese women's soccer national team play against Spain. While in the US he lobbied for Japan to host the women's soccer World Cup during meetings held in New York - before returning to Japan on March 8.
"My symptoms didn’t start until March 14, so I wasn’t a major infection risk to others, but I apologize to those who were in meetings with me, JFA executives, the media and others I may have been in close contact with," said Tashima in a statement, adding that his condition isn't serious.
Mr. Tashima is almost certain to be unable to attend the next executive board meeting for the Olympic organizing committee at the end of this month, at which the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be on the agenda. Mr. Tashima is one of 25 executive board members who attend meetings every few months to review Olympic planning. -Wall Street Journal
While government officials said on Tuesday that they intend to hold the Olympics during the pandemic, with spectators and without changes to the scale of the event scheduled to begin July 24, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has begun to change his tone, according to TIME.
Abe and his cabinet, as well as the organizers and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, had until days ago been unanimous in insisting the Games would be staged as scheduled. But, following a G-7 leaders’ video conference on the coronavirus Monday, Abe avoided comment on the timing of the event.
“I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders,” he told reporters after the event.
Asked whether the timing of the event was discussed, Abe repeated the same phrases without answering directly. He also used similar words when asked about the issue in parliament Monday. -TIME
Meanwhile, NHK reports that foreign countries' national team training camps for the Olympic and Paralympic games have been canceled or postponed in 16 cities across Japan.
Cancellations include the table tennis and gymnastics team from Colombia, which planned on training in the western city of Kitakyushu, as well as Britain's wheelchair basketball team which had scheduled practice in Urayasu City near Tokyo.
NHK also reports that events or projects to promote exchanges between foreign athletes and local residents have been canceled or postponed in approximately 60 municipalities throughout Japan - including a project by Matsukawa Town in Nagano Prefecture which planned to send high school students to Costa Rica.