Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has reaffirmed her commitment to hosting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by insisting the Games must be held in 2021 "by all means", despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her comments came today, as Koike became the latest official to back the Games taking place next summer.
Due to the pandemic, Tokyo 2020 was pushed back one year due to international travel restrictions and health concerns affecting preparations and qualification for the Games.
Koike's remarks were reported by Kyodo News and come after International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates told AFP that the Games would go ahead in 2021 "with or without COVID-19".
Japan's Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto also said Tokyo 2020 should be held next year "at any cost", citing the preparations of athletes as her motivation.
"Athletes are going through much hardship due to the one-year delay given that their physical condition and motivation were targeted at this summer," Koike said.
"We have to go forward with the Games next summer by all means."
Koike has implemented a coronavirus countermeasure task force as part of her plans to ensure the Olympics can take place.
This group will assess possible scenarios and measures that could allow the Games to run as expected from July 23 to August 8 2021.
A three-party council set-up to aid the organisation of next year's Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo held the first of five meetings today.
The meetings will feature officials from the Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, with the view to producing "robust countermeasures" by the conclusion of the year.
Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors, with a vaccine not yet ready for distribution worldwide.
Just 24 per cent of Japanese citizens are in favour of holding the Olympics next year, according to a poll in July by Kyodo News.