According to Japanese government statistics, the number of double variant cases detected in Japan quadrupled in four days, to 21 on April 26, from only five on April 22. All but one case was confirmed by testing of passengers landing at airports in Japan.
Ms. Hashimoto acknowledged reservations among some in the Japanese public. “There are so many people who are looking forward to the Summer Games,” she said. “On the other hand, there are people who are worried and anxious about the hosting of the Games. Both sides are true, and we have to face up to both sides.”
Toshiro Muto, the organizing committee’s chief executive, said postponing the Games again was unlikely. With the Beijing Winter Olympics scheduled for 2022 and the Paris Summer Games set for 2024, he said it would be difficult to find another window.
“It is not something that can be done that casually,” Mr. Muto said. Already, he said, athletes had struggled to maintain their fitness and motivation after the one-year postponement. Extending for another year, he said, was “probably not practical.”
Mr. Muto said that private contracts with developers who have sold condominiums in the Olympic Village would also be difficult to extend. “Another round of postponement would mean that we would be imposing inconveniences on private-sector contracts,” he said.
Organizers say they will try to ensure the safety of the Olympics with such measures as daily testing of athletes and asking that all participants, including coaches, officials and members of the news media, avoid public transit. They also increased the number of tests required before arrival in Japan — from one negative test within 72 hours of departure to two within 96 hours.
Nonathletes attending the Games, such as coaches, officials, and others, will be tested daily for three days after arrival and then “regularly,” depending on their roles and how closely they are in contact with competitors. They are also being asked to minimize contact with Japanese residents.