Suga stresses significance of Tokyo Games

Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has stressed that the lack of spectators at most competition venues will not undermine the significance of the Tokyo Games.

Suga spoke at the Session of the International Olympic Committee that opened in Tokyo on Tuesday, just three days ahead of the official start of the Olympics.

Suga said the global coronavirus situation is seesawing, but with the start of vaccine rollouts, light is emerging at the end of a long tunnel.

Noting that now is the time to unite, Suga said he wants to send a message globally that the Games can be held successfully, with the efforts and wisdom of the people.

The prime minister explained that the ratio of women athletes joining the Games has reached a record high under its theme of diversity and harmony.

He said he hopes to powerfully show the world how reconstruction has progressed in northeastern Japan, which was ravaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Suga also suggested that Japan hopes to spread the notion of a barrier-free mindset through the Paralympics to realize a society where everyone can co-exist.

Suga said the Games will be different this time due to many restrictions. But he said priority will be placed on protecting the health and lives of the people, and he will also take thorough steps so that athletes and staff can participate with peace of mind.

The prime minister said he is determined to realize a safe and secure Games.