Tokyo governor Yurilo Koike has labelled claims London would be ready to host the 2020 Olympics if necessary as “inappropriate”.
While a number of sporting events having been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, Japan has been determined to get this year’s Olympic Games on.
Earlier this week, the Conservative Party’s London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey exclusively told City A.M. that London would be “ready to host the biggest sporting celebration again, if we are called on in an hour of need”.
A spokesman for mayor Sadiq Khan also told City A.M. the capital would be ready “to step up to the plate” if required.
“Given the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Olympic Committee to seriously consider how London could stand ready to host the Olympics should the need arise,” Bailey told City A.M.
“We have the infrastructure and the experience, and if I am elected I will make sure London is ready to host the biggest sporting celebration again, if we are called on in an hour of need.”
A spokesman for Mayor Sadiq Khan added: “Everyone is working towards what will be a fantastic Tokyo Games. In the unlikely event that it be required, London, as it has done throughout history, will do its best to step up to the plate.”
But the noise coming out of London has provoked a response from Tokyo as they prepare to host their first Olympics since 1964 and just second ever.
Koike labelled Bailey’s suggestion “inappropriate” because there is currently no suggestion that the Olympics will need to be relocated.
It comes a week after the chief executive of Tokyo 2020, Yoshiro More, said talk of Japan not hosting the Games were “irresponsible rumours”.
“With regards to the coronavirus, there are many irresponsible rumours but I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering postponing or cancelling the Games,” Mori said.
“We would like to co-ordinate with the national government and act in a calm manner.”
The International Olympic Committee said the World Health Organisation has advised there was no need for contingency plans to cancel or relocate the Olympics.
Organisers have said they will work with public health officials to ensure the Games go ahead as planned.
So far the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix, the World Athletics Indoor Championships and the start of the Chinese Super League have all been postponed.
Tennis and golf tournaments in China have all also been cancelled or relocated, while it was announced yesterday that the South Korean K-League would be postponed following an outbreak in the country.