Japan's PM Suga brings new optimism for hosting Tokyo Olympics

Aggressive lobbying by Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga has bolstered expectations within the government that the Olympic Games will plow ahead next year, multiple insiders said, marking a pointy turnaround from just a couple of months ago.

Suga has more flexibility in talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), one among the sources said, because he's not tied to the guarantees of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who told the general public the Games would be held in “full form”.

As recently as several months ago, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Tokyo were growing more sceptical about the viability of the Games, despite the official government stance that they might plow ahead.

But sentiment began to shift after Suga replaced Abe last month, consistent with ruling party lawmakers and officialdom on the brink of the new premier.

“The government's tone is sort of different now from when Abe was prime minister,” said a senior finance ministry official who speaks frequently with Suga. “There's a growing sense now that holding the Games is feasible .”

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Suga also seems more flexible on what the Games might appear as if , although the IOC has final say.

“It's easier to propose other ways to host the Games under Suga,” the official said. “There's a stronger sense that while it's going to not be within the usual style, there'll definitely be a Games next year.”

The government and native organisers haven't decided whether to permit spectators, two sources said. which will probably be determined by year-end, they said.

The sources declined to be identified because the knowledge isn't public.

IOC President Thomas Bach on Wednesday said organisers assume there would be international spectators next year.

The Japanese government and therefore the IOC postponed the 2020 Games in March until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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