UPDATE 2-SoftBank's Son says 'afraid' about Tokyo 2020

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TOKYO, May 13 (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday he is “afraid” of having the Olympics during the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed concern for both Japan and countries sending athletes to the Games in Tokyo.

The intervention from one of Japan’s most prominent executives comes as the government has vowed to press ahead with Tokyo 2020 amid rising domestic virus cases and concern over the speed of the vaccination rollout.

Speaking on CNBC, Son said: “I am very much afraid of having the Olympics, not just about Japan but for the many countries. They are having a big, tough situation. I don’t know how they can support sending athletes.”

While Son has been vocal over what he sees as failings in Japan’s coronavirus response, with SoftBank setting up its own testing facility, the comments are his first explicitly expressing concern over the viability of Tokyo 2020.

The Olympics are suffering from weak local support as citizens faces calls to restrict activity in their own lives 10 weeks out from the start of the world’s largest sporting event. (Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Alex Richardson)