The Japanese government is pushing back vigorously today against a recent newspaper report that suggested that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo—and yes, we’re still apparently referring to them as the 2020 games, despite *shrugs in direction of nearest calendar*—might end up getting canceled. “This is categorically untrue,” read a statement from the country’s Cabinet Secretariat, backing up assertions from both its Olympic organizing committee, the IOC, and Japan’s prime minister, because nobody but nobody is letting these allegations go unchallenged.
The 2020 Summer Games, long scheduled for Tokyo, were postponed 10 months ago, when the shutdown of pretty much the whole planet made the idea of getting its most successful athletes together to breathe heavily on each other somewhat untenable. But the Olympics are so institutionalized at this point—and so profitable, for so many people—that the idea of actually skipping the Games, even as we round the corner into 2021, is apparently anathema to all involved. It’s worth noting that this is all so intense that this mass response from multiple branches of government and various international bodies was triggered by rumors—published in The Times Of London—that the Games merely could be canceled. Tokyo’s governor is even suggesting they might pursue legal action against the Times, so unassailable is the official position that You Do Not Fuck With The Olympics.
For what it’s worth, Japan has had one of the better national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; despite a population that’s a little less than half the size of that of the United States, the country’s new cases per day measure in the thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands, and it’s logged a little less than 5,000 deaths total from the disease. Not necessarily an excuse to invite the entire world to crowd in together for some sporting joy, but still a pretty good grade on the relative curve of pandemic success.
The 2020 Summer Games are currently scheduled to open on July 23, 2021. The “or else” is, presumably, implied.