TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday reiterated his commitment to hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, pushing back against public skepticism as COVID-19 continues to spread domestically and worldwide.
"We are determined to realize a safe and secure games as proof that humanity has defeated the new coronavirus," Suga said during an appearance at the online Davos Agenda meetings, held by the World Economic Forum through Friday.
Suga stressed that he had agreed with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach last year that they would "definitely hold the games and cooperate closely together," adding that infection prevention measures would be crucial.
The prime minister did not give details on how Japan would organize the event safely, explaining that officials were still examining what form the games would take.
The head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, told reporters on Thursday that holding the games without spectators was an option that needed to be considered.
Suga also touched on Japan's steadfast commitment to free trade. "Amid the protectionist moves due to COVID-19, Japan will exercise leadership in efforts on expanding free and fair economic areas and strengthening a rules-based, multilateral, free trading system," he said.
Japan, which is heading the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as chair this year, is to lead discussions on market access as well as rule-making, he noted.
He also expressed optimism for working with new U.S. President Joe Biden.
"We aim for united global communities, and that will only be enhanced with the Biden administration," Suga said, pledging to seek a "free and open Indo-Pacific." This concept is Japan's way of promoting an international order based on the rule of law, as tensions with China in the East and South China seas are mounting.
With neighboring countries like China and Russia, Suga said, "Japan will build stable relationships."