No matter how tough the questions get, no matter how many times reporters ask, the person in charge of running the Summer Olympics remains calm. There is a quiet determination in her voice.

The Games are pushing stubbornly ahead despite concerns about surging coronavirus cases in Japan, where only about 20% of residents have been vaccinated. There has been a costly yearlong postponement, a series of scandals and constant public grumbling.

Still, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, shows no sign of wavering at news conferences held inside the modernistic, gold-sheathed Tokyo Big Sight tower.

“We promised the world to host the Games,” Hashimoto tells the assembled media, insisting that “we have to complete our mission.”

The Tokyo Olympics leadership — and the International Olympic Committee — have a reason to remain steadfast. They have a lot riding on the next 17 days.


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