Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that he hopes the COVID-19 situation in Japan will improve enough to allow some spectators at the Tokyo Paralympics kicking off next month.

Canceling the Olympics and Paralympics was “never considered as an option,” Suga said in an interview, adding that the games will be an opportunity to “send a message from Japan to the rest of the world.”

The Olympics are set to kick off next week without spectators at nearly all venues as the capital remains under a COVID-19 state of emergency.

Suga also said he will decide when to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election after vaccinations in the country are further along and the coronavirus comes under control.

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