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Abe critic Ishiba says Japan must plan for Olympics cancellation risk

By Leika Kihara and Yoshifumi Takemoto

Japan must brainstorm plans for dealing with cancelled or postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, even if that is unlikely, said Shigeru Ishiba, a ruling party heavyweight seen as a leading candidate to be the next prime minister.

Ishiba, an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said the fate of the Tokyo Olympics was a decision best left to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He declined to comment on what the best move might be.

Whatever the decision, Japan must be prepared, he said.

"Not thinking about worst-case scenarios won't eliminate the risk of them materializing," Ishiba told Reuters.

"The government must start thinking now about what to do" in case the Olympics Games is cancelled or postponed, he added.

Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said on Thursday there has been no change to plans for Japan to hold the Games starting July 24.

On economic policy, Ishiba said Japan must boost public works spending and offer cash payments to low-income households to revive the economy.

Such steps should not be part of a short-term package to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, but rather as a long-term plan to address rising inequality in Japan, he said.

He also criticized the Bank of Japan's ultra-low interest rates for hurting regional banks, which play a key role in supporting smaller companies outside major cities.

"Having gone this far, an exit from ultra-loose monetary policy has become a very narrow one," Ishiba said.

"But there's really not much room to cut interest rates further," he added, brushing aside calls for the central bank to ease further to prop up growth.

Ishiba has topped the list of lawmakers considered contenders to take over as premier when Abe's term ends next year, but he has said little about economic policy.

His remarks underscore a contrast between Abe's pro-business policies and those favored by Ishiba, who focuses more on distribution of wealth.

"Tax cuts and cash payouts will work, though they must target low-income households and smaller firms," he said.

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you should be PRAYING that they let you postpone to next year. Nobody in their right mind would risk traveling to watch meaningless sports at a time like this.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

At this point, Tokyo should be considering on postponing the Olympics if the situation doesn't improve at a certain period ahead of the event. Just have a pay per view instead, it'll save spectators the trouble of lining up, commuting, buying seats and getting a good view.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe has postponed meaningful reforms in Japan now-he’s the man for the job...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well now that Abe's BFF has made a comment about cancelling the ball is rolling! Things are going to eventually get better, BUT I doubt it will all suddenly clear up enough WORLD-WIDE to hold the Olympics now!

Watch out when countries start pulling out!

5 ( +5 / -0 )


Its NOT up to japan. Only the ioc decides.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

October or November, please.

The spectators and athletes will both be safer, both from the virus and from heatstroke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

October 10, 2021 is my choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ishiba is one Japanese politician who seems to be on top of the issues. He is very well versed in policy and actually is able to make good analysis. He has a boring and dull personality but my gosh he is good when you listen to him analysing policy issues. He will be a better PM than Abe is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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