And while only months ago the Asia-Pacific region looked like a glimmer of hope amongst the other Conronavirus-ridden regions, keeping their cases low and even discussing a travel bubble, a new third wave of winter cases smashed Japan, sending case numbers skyrocketing.
Earlier this month, the nation recorded its highest rate of daily cases since the pandemic began (a seven-day rolling average of 6,000 new cases per day), and, for the first time in the nation's handling of the pandemic, a health crisis that Japan is failing to get under control. Recent polls suggest up to 80 per cent of the Japanese population want the games cancelled or delayed because they fear the event will drive up infections.
So what does the future of the games look like? We break it down below.
Are the 2020 Olympics being held?
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach insists the already-postponed Tokyo games will go ahead in July.
While he couldn’t guarantee there would be spectators and denied that pushing ahead with the tournament as the world faces lethal third-waves of the coronavirus pandemic was “irresponsible”, Bach said the body had committed to the games going ahead.
When will the Tokyo Olympics start?
After a four-and-a-half-hour executive board meeting Bach said the opening ceremony would take place on the 23rd of July this year.
“We are not losing our time and energy on the speculations but we are fully concentrating on the opening ceremony on the 23rd of July this year,” he said.
“We are not speculating on whether the games are taking place, we are working on how the games will take place.
“We are working on the basis of having all athletes there in Tokyo for all events,” he said.
Could the games move to another city?
Bach said it was not possible to move the Games to another city and said proceeding with the Games was “clearly not irresponsible.”
“Our task is to organise Olympic Games and not to cancel Olympic Games and our task is to make the dreams of Olympic athletes to come true.”
“If we would think it would be irresponsible and if we would think that the Games could not be safe, we would not go for it. Okay. Principle number one - safe organisation,” he said.
How will Covid-safe measures impact the game?
Bach said the games would require COVID-countermeasures for every scenario but said it was too soon to specify what they would be and pleaded for patience.
He said discussions were ongoing and included the World Health Organisation and the makers of vaccines. While some countries, including Israel which is leading the race to inoculate its population, say their sportsmen and women will be injected in time, other countries with slower or delayed rollouts are pondering the question. Letters have been sent to all 206 national Olympic committees by the IOC asking them to contact their governments about the status of vaccines.
The IOC has also slashed the duration of athletes‘ stay in Japan. They will now arrive shortly before their competitions and leave straight after in order to reduce the risk of infections.
How many times has the Olympics been in Tokyo?
To date, the Summer Olympics have been hosted in Asia three times: in Tokyo, Japan (1964), Seoul, South Korea (1988), and Beijing, China (2008). This year will be the fourth time for Asia.