Japanese Emperor Naruhito is "extremely worried" about the Tokyo Olympics and the potential spread of COVID-19 it may cause. Grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency Yasuhiko Nishimura revealed the Emperor's fears during a press conference on Thursday as the opening ceremonies are now less than a month away.
"His majesty is extremely worried about the current situation of the COVID-19 infections," Nishimura said, according to the Associated Press. "While there are voices of unease among the public, I believe (the emperor) is concerned that holding the Olympics and Paralympics ... may lead to the expansion of the infections."
With the Olympics coming to Tokyo on July 23, thousands of athletes, officials and journalists from around the world will be traveling into Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo, which had been in place since late April.
But, according to the AP, health officials have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases since the state of emergency was lifted and fear the number of cases could rise even higher in the weeks leading up to the Olympics.
Nishimura added that he wants Olympic organizers to "take every possible anti-virus measures so as not to cause the spread of the infections at the Olympics and Paralympics, where the emperor serves the Honorary Patron." However, it's worth noting that Naruhito certainly has influence, but doesn't have the power to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Olympics. Suga -- who does have that power -- has maintained his stance that the Olympics must go on despite pressure from health officials and the public to postpone the Summer Games.