Tokyo News and Covid-19: Japanese political voices raise doubts about the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo News and Covid-19: Japanese political voices raise doubts about the Tokyo Olympics

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are scheduled for later this year after being postponed last year. However, the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Japan is increasing in severity. This relates to infections and deaths. Therefore, 5,000 deaths will occur from coronavirus within the next 48 hours in Japan.

From an international point of view, the situation is more severe today than when the Olympics were postponed last year. Thus with two million deaths from coronavirus already – and new variants being more infectious – the Olympic outlook appears bleak.

Of course, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike are adamant the Olympics will take place this year. Yet, even if they are correct, public sentiment in Japan is overwhelmingly against the Olympics being held this year.

Modern Tokyo Times recently said, “According to the latest opinion poll by NHK, only 16 percent support the Olympics to be held this year. This is shockingly low for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to keep on plugging. After all, deaths are increasing in Japan alongside a recent upsurge in new daily infections.”

Hence, more politicians from smaller political parties in Japan are raising their concerns. Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of the Democratic Party for the People, uttered, “It is becoming difficult to hold the games.”

Ichiro Matsui, the Mayor of Osaka (Japan Innovation Party), said, “The whole world is facing unprecedented times. Japan should assume the role of negotiating with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) while aiming for (the Games to be held in) 2024.”

Kazuo Shii, the leader of the Japanese Communist Party, said pointedly, “What is the prime minister using as a basis to claim that it is possible to host the Tokyo Games?”

Hence, if high infections and deaths keep mounting in Japan, more political voices opposed to the Olympics being held this year will be raised.

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