Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said Japan will continue as planned to make preparations for this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
Concerns over the spread of COVID-19, which has so far killed 5,080 people and infected more than 138,000 worldwide, have fuelled rumours Tokyo 2020 could be postponed or cancelled.
But officials in Japan and from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have repeatedly insisted the Olympic Games, due to open on July 24, will go ahead as scheduled.
Suga made his remarks during a press briefing.
"There is no change to the Government stance that we will make preparations for the Tokyo Games as planned by keeping close contact with the International Olympic Committee, organisers, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government," Suga was reported as saying by Xinhua.
Executives within the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee also said the Olympics and Paralympics will be held as planned.
"Nothing has changed significantly," a senior official was quoted as saying on the matter, according to Xinhua.
"We are working with the organisations involved to prepare for the Games."
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday (March 11) that there are "deep concerns by the alarming levels of spread and severity and the alarming levels of inaction", leading to some voicing concerns about Tokyo 2020 going ahead.
Yesterday, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said it would be "unthinkable" to cancel this year's Olympics in the Japanese capital.
She did admit, however, that the coronavirus pandemic will have some effect on the running of Tokyo 2020.
Japan has reported 700 cases and 10 deaths from the virus, but fears over its spread have prompted countries to impose travel restrictions and ban events with a certain number of participants.
The pandemic has caused major disruption to the sporting calendar, with numerous events and leagues postponed, suspended or cancelled.
Olympic qualifiers in several sports are among those to have been affected, raising concern for athletes about how they book their place at Tokyo 2020.
A number of Tokyo 2020 test events have also either been cancelled or postponed, while others have gone ahead with volunteers used instead of athletes.
The Tokyo 2020 Torch lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia took place this week, but only 100 invited guests were present.
Subsequently, the Greek leg of the Torch Relay has been cancelled after a large crowd turned up to watch actor Gerard Butler carry the Flame.