Sat, 27 Feb 2021

TOKYO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese Diet opened Monday with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowing to go ahead with preparations to hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer, in the face of growing public opposition amid a surge in coronavirus infections across the country.

In his first policy speech at the Diet's regular session since taking office last September, Suga outlined his policy agendas and stressed his determination to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will press ahead with preparations, with determination of building watertight anti-infection measures and holding an event that can bring hope and courage to the world," Suga said of the Olympics.

Rumors ran wild recently that the Tokyo Olympic Games would be postponed to 2032, immediately causing a stir among athletes who had planned to compete at the showpiece event in less than 200 days.

Both the International Olympics Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee had moved swiftly to deny such accusations, dismissing all such reports concerning the cancellation of the Games as "fake news." They reaffirmed their commitment to hosting the already-delayed Tokyo 2020 Games this summer.

As for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Suga vowed to tackle surging infection cases and restore normal life "as soon as possible".

"To protect the lives and health of the Japanese people... I will get the situation back to normal as soon as possible," he said.

Suga declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures in an effort to contain a resurgence of infections earlier this month, and expanded it to seven more prefectures including Osaka and Aichi last week.

"What is important is to provide necessary medical services to people in need. We will exhaust all measures to safeguard the medical system," said the Japanese leader.

"We are all ready to deploy the Self-Defence Forces' medical team if requested by governors," he added.

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