Ahead of the Olympics, Japan’s vaccine minister says he fears a virus uptick in Tokyo

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Japan is working closely with the International Olympic Committee to prepare for the Games and despite concerns about Covid-19 cases flaring, there are no plans to postpone, said Japan’s minister in charge of vaccinations.

“Unless they decide otherwise, we just simply need to prepare for the Games, how to control the situation. I think it changes almost every day, so they need to be prepared for that. But I don’t think they are thinking about postponing it,” Taro Kono told CNBC’s Martin Soong on Wednesday.

The Olympic torch was taken off the public streets of Osaka on Wednesday as the prefecture declared a state of emergency after coronavirus cases reached record highs.

“Yes, (the) situation in Osaka is especially worrying,” said Kono, who is also minister of regulatory reform. A new virus variant similar to the one first discovered in the U.K. is “quickly spreading” in Osaka, he added.

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