Suntory CEO not certain Japan can hold Olympics

"I'm not sure whether we'll be able to hold the Tokyo Olympics or not," Suntory CEO Takeshi Niinami, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, told the Reuters Next virtual forum on Wednesday.

"But it's a great message to the world, as overcoming the battle against COVID. Definitely, we should make every effort."

Japan initially managed to avoid the kind of explosion in coronavirus cases seen in countries such as the United States, but infections have risen steadily and the government has declared a second state of emergency for areas including Tokyo.

Government officials insist they are preparing for the Olympics this summer as planned, following last year's postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But polls have shown the public's hope for the Games have faded.

Niinami said that a decision will likely be made by the end of March, as the third wave of infections will likely continue through the end of February or early March.