The secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, did not rule out, on Wednesday (14) the possibility of canceling the Olympics as a last resort, due to the increase in contamination of Covid-19 in the country.
“If it is not possible to organize the Games, we must cancel them without hesitation,” Nikai told TBS TV channel on Thursday (15). “If the Olympics contribute to the increase in infections, I don’t know what they are for,” he added.
The representative of the Japanese government he said, however, that the country expects the Olympics, which theoretically start in 100 days, to be a success. A little later, a party representative, quoted by the Jiji agency, who declined to be named, said the event would not be canceled.
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is scheduled for July 23. The event, which ends on August 8, had already been postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The country faces a fourth wave of contamination, which has prompted authorities to impose new restrictions in several regions, including Tokyo. This Wednesday, 4,000 new cases were registered, which had not occurred since January. Vaccination is slow, and only 1.1 of the 126 million inhabitants received a dose.
The new epidemic wave also disrupts the schedule of qualifying competitions for the Games, as well as the return of the Olympic torch, which began on March 25.
The city of Matsuyama, in the west of the country, announced on Wednesday, for example, that it would cancel the stage to avoid agglomerations. The Osaka region also preferred, last week, to pass the torch in a park closed to the public.
The Japanese population is opposed to the Tokyo Olympics this summer because of health restrictions, according to research conducted in recent months.
As a precaution, and for the first time in history, the Japanese organizers and the International Olympic Committee have decided that the event will not receive foreign spectators.
Committee rules out postponement
Health professionals warned of the risk linked to the organization of the Olympic Games in the epidemic context. This week, four experts asked for an article in the scientific journal British Medical that the organization of the event “be reassessed” as a matter of urgency. “Mass international events, like the Olympics, are not safe,” they wrote.
The vice president of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, ruled out a possible cancellation on Wednesday. “We are ready, concerned, security remains our priority, but we are prepared for the worst situations,” he said.
(With information from AFP)