Tokyo Olympics 2020: Japan To Push Through Hosting Despite Surging COVID-19 Cases, Citizens Wanting It Postponed




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Japan officials are adamant about hosting the Tokyo Olympics despite surging COVID-19 cases and 80 percent of Japanese wanting it postponed. (Photo : Rodrigo Reyes Marin-Pool/Getty Images)

Japan officials are adamant about hosting the Tokyo Olympics despite surging COVID-19 cases and 80 percent of Japanese wanting it postponed.  

Japanese officials said that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 would push through with its target date, July 23, even with the surging of COVID-19 cases.

The Tokyo Olympics was first postponed in March 2020 due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, this time, many Japanese do not agree with Japan pushing through with hosting the said quadrennial event.

Tokyo Olympics Cancelled?

In the latest poll conducted by Kyodo, a Japanese news body and Tokyo Broadcasting System, over 80 percent of Japanese said the Tokyo Olympics should be delayed or canceled. Some also believed it would not happen. 

According to CBS News, the survey results meant bad news for the International Olympic Committee and the organizers. They insisted, though, that the pandemic-wrecked Olympics, which already underwent a series of postponements, will likely start on July 23 of this year.

Last week, Japan declared a state of emergency as many prefectures encountered a drastic increase in the COVID-19 cases. But for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, there is a big chance that the Tokyo Olympics will happen as planned despite the surging cases.

Even though Japan may have a grasp in controlling the up-and-down COVID-19 numbers, many suspected that the recent skyrocketing of cases would jeopardize the 15,000 athletes of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto recognized the alarming COVID-19 concerns of the Japanese. 

However, he said it’s more important for them to be prepared because it’s normal for the Japanese to be concerned about national issues.

Several reports purveyed “fake news,” stating that the Tokyo organizers have set a meeting to discuss the hiatus for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Muto called them baseless as the torch relay that will usher in the Tokyo Olympics will be on March 25 already.

Meanwhile, Suntory CEO Takeshi Niinami arranged a phone call between Prime Minister Suga and American business magnate Bill Gates. 

Niinami, who managed a Japanese beverage corporation, said that Suga and Gates acknowledged the country’s vaccination availability for the safety of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tokyo Olympics Starts Countdown After Reaching 200th-Day Mark  

It seems that most Japanese are not alone in their sentiments of Japan’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympics. In a tweet by gold medalist rower Matthew Pinsent, he said the Olympics should be postponed until the next Summer Olympics.

In an MSN report, the 50-year-old Pinsent tweeted that the Tokyo hosting should be moved to 2024. This will mean that the Paris Olympics will also be moved to 2028, and the Los Angeles Olympics in 2032.

Last week, Richard Pound, the IOC’s longest-serving member, stated that he is uncertain about the Tokyo Olympics hosting, as per a BBC report. This would likely turn into a mess due to the escalation of COVID-19 cases in Japan and other countries.

In November, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the athletes’ vaccination would not be mandatory, but he encouraged them to take the shots.

Meanwhile, experts have become cynical about the possible pushing of the Tokyo Olympics bid. Those skeptics were Prime Minister Suga’s health experts, who knew the consequences of this big event to everyone. The Olympic committee members also shared the same sentiment with Suga’s health experts.

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