The Olympic flame is currently en route from Greece to Japan, where it will arrive on Friday ahead of a relay that's scheduled to begin next Thursday, reports Reuters. Japan and the International Olympic Committee are continuing to insist that the Tokyo Games will take place as scheduled in late July, despite the coronavirus pandemic, but on Wednesday, the one-time prime minister of Japan didn't sound so optimistic on that point. Current Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso drew attention for describing the Olympics as "cursed," with the Guardian reporting that he pointed out to a parliamentary committee that world events seem to occur every four decades that mess with the games.
Aso specifically noted the cancellation of the 1940 Games due to WWII (Japan was to be the host) and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which were boycotted by countries including Japan and the US in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. "It's a problem that's happened every 40 years—it's the cursed Olympics, and that's a fact," he said. He noted that while parts of Asia may have turned a corner on the coronavirus, the same can't be said for the rest of the planet. "We certainly hope to have a situation where everyone can at least come to Japan feeling safe and happy," he said, per the AP. "But the question is how we do that. It is something that Japan alone cannot achieve, and I don't have an answer to this." (Read more 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)