TOKYO (JAPAN) – Though the Olympics is slated to commence on July 28 to go on till Aug 8, many in Tokyo are of the opinion that it would be impossible to host the games. Tokyo is currently under a newly declared emergency to curb rising COVID cases.
The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the Olympics by a year due to the pandemic. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated on Thursday his intention to hold the Games.
However, a December poll by public broadcaster NHK showed a third of Japanese residents want the Games to be scrapped due to fears of inflow of foreigners, as it may further spike COVID-19 cases. In the same poll, 31% of respondents favoured another delay, while only 27% said the Olympics should go ahead as scheduled.
Over 15,000 athletes from across the world are expected to descend on Tokyo for the Games, leading to concerns they may bring new mutations of the virus to Japan.
“I think it’s difficult. It’s impossible to hold the Olympics,” said 75-year-old Tatsuhiko Akamasu, who was visiting Tokyo on Friday from nearby Saitama.
“It’s only two and a half months until the torch relay. I don’t think we can get the virus under control during this period.”
“I think it is more likely that we won’t hold the Olympics, and I would rather the government make the decision at some point to cancel it,” said 74-year-old Hisashi Miyabe.
“I think the interaction between people will cause further spread of the coronavirus, and it is more likely that the virus may mutate if the infection numbers are increasing. I feel that is a bit scary,” said 23-year-old student Yuki Furusho.