The rearranged Tokyo Games must be held 'at any cost' in 2021, Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said on Tuesday.

Iran PressAsia: Speaking at a news conference, Hashimoto said that the Games should be held for the benefit of the athletes, regardless of the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee took the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, originally scheduled to begin in July, until 2021 because of the virus.

“Everyone involved with the Games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts towards next year,” Hashimoto said during a news conference.

“I think we have to hold the Games at any cost,” she added.

“I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”

Officials from the Japanese government, the local Tokyo government, and the Olympics organizing committee met for the first time last week to develop steps to counter the coronavirus at the Games.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was postponed for the first time in their history. The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will now be held on 23 July 2021.

On September 7, 2013, the International Olympic Committee awarded the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 to Tokyo, which was chosen over fellow Candidate Cities Istanbul and Madrid after two rounds of voting during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

Tokyo 2020 became the first Olympics ever postponed in peacetime earlier this year as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the globe, claiming lives and forcing the cancelation of sporting and cultural events.

The Olympics have previously only been canceled completely during periods of World War -in 1916, 1940, and 1944- but never suspended or postponed. 

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