April 20 (UPI) -- Japan's Olympic minister is not ruling out the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics as the country grapples with a surge of a COVID-19 variant in its biggest cities.
Tamayo Marukawa, who was appointed to the position in February after the resignation of Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto, said Tuesday at a press conference that it would be "natural" to call off the Summer Games if conditions call for a cancellation, Jiji Press reported.
"If it is unjustifiable [to host the Olympics] it would be natural to call off" the Games, Marukawa said.
Marukawa also expressed support for Liberal Democratic Party General Toshihiro Nikai.
Nikai, who had appeared on local channel TBS on Thursday, had said canceling the Olympics should be an option.
"If it becomes impossible, then it should be called off," Nikai said, according to Kyodo News.
"What is the point of the Olympics if it's responsible for spreading infections? We will have to make a decision at that point."
Not all Japanese politicians are in agreement, however.
Tokyo's vaccine czar Taro Kono has said the Olympics should be held in "whatever way possible." Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had pledged to host a safe and secure Games, according to Kyodo.
Japanese officials are facing a conundrum over the Olympics as the cities of Tokyo and Osaka seek a state of emergency declaration over COVID-19.
Cases continue to rise in the country. NHK reported Japan confirmed 2,901 new cases by Monday evening, with most of the cases occurring in the two cities.
Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka Prefecture, has said he is planning to request a state of emergency later in the week.
Yuriko Koike, Tokyo governor, has told the public to "not come to Tokyo" and advised residents from going outside, according to reports.
Japan has reported more than half a million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.