Toshirō Mutō has downplayed suggestions that October will be the decisive month in assessing if Tokyo 2020 can go ahead in 2021 ©Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō has downplayed suggestions from John Coates that October will be a pivotal month in assessing whether the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games can go ahead next year.

Coates, chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, said a week ago that organisers had "got real problems" and would need to begin preparing for a "very different" Olympic Games if there were no signs of the novel coronavirus being eradicated by October.

However, Mutō has now understated the importance of the month and insisted Coates was not suggesting a decision on cancelling the Games could be made in October.

"We have asked chairman Coates directly about the question, he told us that he never used a word for 'yes or no' on the Games," Mutō said, in comments reported by Xinhua.

"He never mentioned anything like the possibility of deciding the Games in October.

"Chairman Coates never said that October will be the time when we start the detailed discussion.

"What he mentioned was that we will continue to assess and review the situation in autumn. 

"Many things will become clear at that time including the cost and many other things we are talking about now."

Tokyo is no longer operating under a state of emergency ©Getty Images
Tokyo is no longer operating under a state of emergency ©Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of Tokyo 2020 and it has now claimed more than 360,000 lives across the world.

Japan is no longer in a state of emergency, with Tokyo among the last prefectures to exit it on Monday (May 25) after a drop in the rate of new cases, but whether or not the Games can go ahead will depend on how well the deadly virus is brought under control elsewhere as much a it will on the health situation in Japan.

The Organising Committee and the IOC are currently in discussions over the rearranged Games, with Mutō anticipating these will continue in June and July before a clear path forward can be forged.

One key area will be costs, with the IOC pledging $650 million (£535 million/€600 million) towards the bill associated with the postponement of its marquee event.

"This is the first time in history that an Olympic Games has been postponed," Mutō added, underlining the unprecedented task in hand. 

"We have taken over six years to accumulate many things in preparation for the Games in the summer. 

"But now we have to do it again in over one year's time."

As things stand, the Opening Ceremony will be held on July 23 next year, with the Olympics set to end on August 8.

IOC President Thomas Bach has admitted that Tokyo 2020 will be cancelled if it cannot be staged in 2021.