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In Japan, there are increasingly noisy demands to permanently cancel the Olympic Games, which were postponed last year and scheduled for this year, due to the worsened epidemiological situation with Covid-19.
Nearly 60 % of Japanese citizens want the Tokyo Olympics, which should start in less than three months, to be cancelled due to a novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released this week, Reuters reports.
Japan has prolonged the state of emergency in the capital – which was supposed to last until May 11 – until the end of the month and is struggling to stop the sharp increase in the number of cases of infection, which raises additional questions about whether the Games should be held or not. Recall that the Olympics were postponed in 2020 for a year due to a pandemic, should open on July 23 and last until August 8.
A public opinion poll conducted on May 7-9 for the daily Yomiuri Shimbun found that precisely 59 % of those polled want the Olympics cancelled, while 39 % want them to take place. The postponement was not offered as an option to respond.
Final Decision in June
Among those who voted for the games, 23 % said it should be conducted without spectators whatsoever. The arrival of spectators from abroad has already been banned by an earlier decision, and the final decision on the presence of domestic spectators will be made in June, about a month before the current start date of the event in Tokyo.
Another poll, conducted for TBS News over the weekend behind us, found that 65 % of Japanese want the Games cancelled or postponed again, of which 37 % are in favor of complete cancellations while 28 % want another postponement. A similar survey conducted in April for the agency Kyodo News found that 70 %of citizens want either cancellation or delay.
Senior official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) John Coates said that, although the mood of the Japanese for the Games is worrying, he does not see a scenario according to which the event would not take place.
The Decision Is on the IOC
Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan, has so far, despite the increase in Covid-19 cases, promised to hold the Olympics, but a TBS poll found that only 40 % of those polled support him, close to the lowest support he had earlier this year.
But Suga said Monday that he never put the Olympics first. Asked in the parliamentary committee whether the Games will be held even if there is a sudden increase in coronavirus infections, Suga answered: “I never put the Games first.”
“My priority was to protect the lives and health of the Japanese people. We must first prevent the spread of the virus,” the Prime Minister added, noting that the final decision is to be made by the IOC, while the role of the Government is to do everything to ensure that the Games are held in a safe manner.
Last weekend, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka said that although she had waited her whole life to participate in the Olympics, the risks of holding them should be carefully considered.
Tens of Thousands Have Signed a Petition Against the Tokyo Olympics
As icing on the cake of the polls against the Games, we also have an Internet petition asking for the cancellation of this big event in Tokyo this summer, which was signed by tens of thousands of people, reports the AP. The petition was mostly signed by residents of Tokyo, Osaka, and several other areas where a state of emergency has been declared due to an increase in coronavirus infection.
A petition “Call for cancellation of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in order to protect people’s lives and livelihoods” was recently launched by lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, who has repeatedly run for mayor of Tokyo. In the first 24 hours, the petition was signed by about 50,000 people.
The petition states that the Olympic Games cannot be held in a safe way, but also that the competition emptied the finances for other needs, such as vaccination against coronavirus. The AP reminds that only two percent of Japanese people were vaccinated and that more than 11,000 people at the moment of writing this text died as a result of Covid-19.
Olympic Flame Removed From the Streets of Osaka
The petition was sent to the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, who should visit Japan this month. Bach is expected to welcome the Olympic flame on May 17 in Hiroshima and maybe to visit Tokyo, where protests against the Games are planned.
We remind you that the Olympic torch relay, which should be taken by 10,000 runners through Japan in four months, planned for mid-April did not go through the streets of Osaka prefecture due to the increase in the number of coronavirus infected back then, which was the first signal of new problems.
What is clear and cannot be clearer at the moment is that even if the Olympics – for which online sports bookmakers, such as those at bookmaker-expert.com/bonus/free-bets/, are getting ready their sportsbooks – are held it will be in extraordinary circumstances: without spectators from abroad, with a very limited number of spectators in general, as well as with numerous restrictions for athletes.