Despite only a few weeks left, the Olympics are approaching with remarkable speed – and yet Japan remains mired in the coronavirus crisis.
A Yomiuri Daily Newspaper poll on Monday showed that half of Japan believe the games will go as planned, despite escalating opposition.
More than half of Japanese citizens – 60% – have called for a postponement or cancellation of the games, and more than 10,000 volunteers have dropped out due to concerns over COVID.
10,000 ABANDONED VOLUNTEERS; TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES OPEN IN 50 DAYS
Coronavirus statistics are not pointing in the right direction. Every day, 100 people in Japan die from COVID, and it’s far from slowing down: Tokyo alone sees 500 new cases a day. Only 2-3% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated.
If the games continue as planned, athletes, visitors and media – vaccinated or not – from more than 200 countries will arrive in less than 50 days.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to vaccinate all elderly residents of Japan by the end of July. But even if Japan met that target, 70% percent of the Japanese population would still not be fully immunized during the opening ceremonies on July 23, according to the Associated Press.
Lawmakers opposed to the event gathered on Monday to lobby Suga and his cabinet’s decision to go ahead with the games despite growing health fears.
Suga’s approval rating fell to 40% last month, the lowest since taking office 10 months ago.
DOCTOR WARNS TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES MAY SPREAD VARIANTS
Doctors are now even warning of the event creating new mutations, dubbed the “Olympic strain”.
“All the different mutant strains of the virus that exist in different places will be concentrated and brought together here in Tokyo. We cannot deny the possibility that a new strain of the virus is potentially emerging,” warned the head of the Union of Physicians. from Japan, Naoto Ueyama. .
Shigeru Omi, Japan’s top health adviser, said hosting the games in the midst of a health crisis was “not normal.”
The decision to cancel, however, cannot be taken lightly – a total cancellation would cost the country around $ 17 billion. Insurers who supported the event would suffer a loss of $ 2 billion to $ 3 billion. Brokers say it would be the biggest claim for a global event ever made in history.
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Either option could spell disaster, and the pressure is being felt by the Japanese people and policymakers.
A senior Japanese Olympics official died on Monday after jumping in front of a train.
The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, insists that the games will always go as planned, even if they are accompanied by “some sacrifices”.
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