Entertainment Sports Japanese Official Says Canceling Tokyo Summer Olympics Is Still Possible amid Rise in COVID Cases "If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics," the official said By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. She began at the brand in 2018 as an editorial intern and later returned as an intern on the Food team. Upon graduating from the University of Maryland in 2019, Georgia worked as an entertainment intern at USA Today before coming back to PEOPLE as a digital news writer. In April 2021, she began her role as a Parents writer/reporter. People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 15, 2021 10:55 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Man in mask standing near Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Japanese officials have still not ruled out canceling the Tokyo Summer Olympics as the country grapples with a spike in COVID-19 cases nearly three months away from the start of the Games. During an interview with Japan's TBS TV on Thursday, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said that should it seem "impossible to go on with the games," the Olympics must be "definitely canceled," the Associated Press reported. "If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics," he said. Nikai explained that hosting the Games is a "big opportunity" for Japan and it is important for the country to make it a success. Team USA Swimmers Reveal What They're Looking Forward to Most About Visiting Japan for Olympics "We will have many issues to resolve and prepare, and it is important to take care of them one by one," he added. "I think the question is how to do the Olympics in a way that is possible in this situation. That may mean there will probably be no spectators," added Taro Kono, who is in charge of the country's vaccine rollout. Kono also said it's likely the events will have to be held in empty venues. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday. The International Olympic Committee has said the remain "committed" to the upcoming Summer Olympics. "We do not speculate. We are fully concentrated and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic Games," an IOC spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement, adding that they are "working at full speed towards the opening ceremony on 23 July." Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay Kicks Off One Year After 2020 Cancellation According to the AP, Osaka — Japan's second-largest metropolitan area — has recorded more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for three straight days. Meanwhile, Tokyo recorded 729 cases on Thursday, the highest level the capital has seen in more than two months. Tokyo Summer Olympics logo. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Prime Minister Toshihide Suga hopes to move forward with preparations for the Games, sharing in a statement there was "no change to the government position to do everything to achieve safe and secure Olympics," according to the AP. The Tokyo Olympics, postponed from last summer due to the ongoing pandemic, are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. Overseas spectators have already been banned from the Games and Tokyo organizers expect to announce the number of fans allowed into each venue sometime this month. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.