Last week kicked off with Tokyo Olympics organizers playing down a poll showing plunging support for the games, saying a report claiming cancellation could be discussed next month was “fake news.”

A couple of days later, a Cabinet minister was quoted as saying that the delayed Tokyo Games may not go ahead this summer as planned, and that the host needs to be ready for anything. “We need to do the best we can to prepare for the games at this moment, but it could go either way,” Taro Kono told Reuters.

As international media began to contemplate the possibility that that the Olympics could be canceled for the first time since World War II, on cue came another round of reassurance, with the government stressing Sunday that it remains committed to holding the rescheduled Tokyo Games this summer.

Tokyo Olympics: The most unpopular Games ever? | FRANCE 24 ENGLISH
Tokyo Olympics: The most unpopular Games ever? | FRANCE 24 ENGLISH

The current state of the pandemic has revived questions about the feasibility of safely holding even a limited version of the games, Bloomberg reports.

Declaring a second state of emergency due to soaring COVID-19 cases with 200 days to go is not a good look for the host nation. The discovery of new, possibly more infectious strains in the U.K. and South Africa has also alarmed governments.

Japan has told sports bodies it will temporarily suspend the current exemptions that allow foreign athletes to enter the country to train ahead of the Olympics, Kyodo reported Thursday. In principle, nonresident foreign nationals are prohibited from entry during the current state of emergency, in effect until Feb. 7.