Tokyo Olympics: to be or not to be

The fourth wave of coronavirus is rapidly conquering new territories, and the Japanese authorities are seriously thinking about the possibility of holding the Olympic Games, until which there are 100 days, according to AMPE.

Calls from Japanese experts to postpone the Olympics echo with statements from government officials and representatives of the Olympic Committee, who strongly oppose the re-postponement of the event. Seiko Hashimoto, President of the Tokyo 2020 Commission, today confirmed that the commitment to the Olympics remains unchanged.

The country, however, is struggling to contain the fourth wave of the pandemic by extending existing restrictive measures and introducing new ones. Today they are expected to be extended to 10 prefectures. Yasutoshi Mishimura, the Minister of Economy of Japan, told reporters in an interview that the government is considering adding Kanagua, Aichi, Simba and Saitama to the list of 6 strict prefectures. Among them are Osaka and Tokyo.

On Thursday, a record number of new cases was recorded in Osaka – 1208, and over the last 24 hours in the Japanese capital – 729. This is mainly a British strain, which is highly infectious. Yesterday even a high-ranking government official admitted that if the epidemiological situation does not improve, the Olympics could be canceled.

Experts sound the alarm, consider the Olympics dangerous and urge to postpone it. The situation is aggravated by too slow rates of vaccination in the country. On Wednesday, an article by leading Japanese experts was published in the British Medical Journal, where they noted the insufficient effectiveness of the fight against the spread of coronavirus and the limited diagnostic capabilities against the background of unacceptably slow vaccination. Kazuki Shimizu, an expert from the London School of Economics, notes:

“Plans for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer must be revised immediately. Hosting the Olympic Games for political and economic reasons – ignoring scientific and ethical imperatives – runs counter to Japan’s commitment to global health and human security. ”

More than 75% of thousands of doctors participating in the survey on the feasibility of holding the Olympics believe that it should be postponed. And Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura, a government adviser on pandemic management, urged authorities to postpone the Olympics for a year to prevent more people from being vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign launched in February in the country is not yet happy with the results. Only 0.9% of the country’s residents received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

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