A final decision on whether the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games can go ahead will be made "in the spring" if questions over the coronavirus crisis persist, according to high-ranking International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant.
The Belgian claimed in an interview with L'Avenir newspaper that he was confident the Games would take place and played down suggestions over the event being staged behind closed doors.
Beckers-Vieujant, the head of the Belgian Olympic Committee, also echoed comments from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach that Tokyo 2020 would be cancelled if it cannot be held in 2021.
He said it would be "unthinkable to keep such a project on the go for any longer considering the enormous costs and all the thousands of people involved".
"We are convinced that the Games will take place in 2021 or they won't take place," Beckers-Vieujant, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Paris 2024, said.
"All the sporting federations have to adapt to the Games' postponement.
"We can't envisage a similar upheaval a second time."
Questions are continuing to linger over the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Beckers-Vieujant's timeline for a decision on the staging of the Games, due to open on July 23, comes after Tokyo 2020 vice-president Toshiaki Endo said those involved should wait until at least March before determining the fate of the event.
Tokyo 2020 had previously remained silent on a possible timeframe on a decision, amid concerns the Games may be cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission chairman John Coates warned last month that organisers have "real problems" over the postponed Olympics as countries struggle to control the coronavirus crisis.
Coates said Tokyo 2020 would need to begin preparing for a "very different" Olympic Games if there were no signs of the novel coronavirus being eradicated by October, according to Australian media.
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō subsequently downplayed the suggestions from Coates that October will be a pivotal month in assessing whether the Games can take place in 2021.
Concerns have also been raised over the the Games going ahead without a vaccine for COVID-19.