The number of cases of COVID-19 in Japan has surpassed 1,000 with 706 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise liner, in quarantine off Yokohama, and 331 on land. The 36 new cases on Wednesday was the biggest one-day surge to date.

The global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is also threatening to ruin an event that Tokyo has been planning for since September of 2013 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 to Tokyo.

On March 12, the pre-Olympic torch relay is scheduled to begin in Greece and is supposed to end in Tokyo's New National Stadium on July 24. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said on Wednesday it had stepped up measures to protect runners and spectators by monitoring the participants and putting limits on the number of visitors.

The possibility of Tokyo being unable to or not allowed to host the Summer Olympics is not yet a major concern to IOC’s President Thomas Bach who never mentioned the words “cancellation” or “postponement” in a recent meeting with the games’ organizers. He did say they were getting “expert information” from the World Health Organization (WHO). On Tuesday, he urged athletes to prepare “full steam” for the games.

Yoshiro More, the president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, aligned with Bach and replied, “I am totally not considering this” when asked by reporters about a possible cancellation. His response to queries as to when decisions would be made on any schedule changes to the Olympics was, “I’m not God, so I don’t know.”

Another voice heard on the matter was that of Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, a former Olympian speed skater and track cycling sprinter-turned-politician. She said on Tuesday that Tokyo’s contract with the IOC “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement” until the end of this year but stressed the government was committed to the Games. She hinted that some key decisions might occur toward the end of May.

Another battle over the government’s response to COVID-19 is brewing between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some other political leaders over a special emergency law to allow the government to expand emergency legal powers, affecting the daily activities of citizens and businesses in efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.

Abe, of the Liberal Democratic Party, is seeking non-partisan cooperation for the legislation that would likely be an amendment of an existing 2013 law.

Kazuo Shii, the chairman of the Japanese Communist Party, said the party won’t support the revision adding that his party opposed the law when it was debated in 2012 over human rights concerns.

Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, refrained from any statements indicating his support or lack of it.

Finally, Yukio Edano, who heads the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) of Japan, the largest opposition party, was willing to cooperate with Abe but he added that the CDP believes the situation is not serious enough yet for the prime minister to declare a state of emergency and that the government should consult with the Diet (Japan's bicameral legislature) in advance if it is to invoke an emergency.