Yoriko Koike said the games could signify a “victory” over the epidemic, adding that there was still more work to improve treatment and testing, but she admitted that the organizers were dealing with a number of uncertainties.
Koike told CNN Will Ripley: “The Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 is an important event that everyone was waiting for.”
“The delay has cost a lot, and more than anything else, we don’t know what the coronavirus will be in July next year. We have some doubts here.
“It costs a lot at first, we need understanding from the Tokyo people for that. We must not spend a lot. We have to make games safe for athletes and spectators.”
“A clear goal to win”
According to the latest toll from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), 17,039 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Japan and 917 deaths.
“We have to define the details of the virus, develop treatment treatment and improve test facilities,” said Koike.
“But we cannot let the battle against the coronavirus last for 10 or 20 years. The global community must have a clear goal of winning the coronavirus and competing for solutions by creating a safe society and sharing successful examples (from fighting the virus).
“I wish the Tokyo Olympics 2020 success as a (sign) of mankind’s victory over the coronavirus.”
Despite its high population density, Tokyo has survived the virus well, with 5,347 confirmed cases and 307 deaths, according to JHU.
“All this thanks to the cooperation of the Tokyo people,” Koike said.
“Wearing masks has become a regular habit for the Japanese since the influenza pandemic in 1918 … the feeling of personal hygiene in the Japanese was wonderful and helped suppress the number of deaths compared to Western countries.”