Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to get underway on July 23 but opinion polls suggest a majority of the Japanese public are not in favour of hosting the Games amidi rise in Covid-19 cases.
The National Stadium in Tokyo during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics athletics test event (Reuters Photo)
- Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to get underway from July 23 in Japan
- The Games were postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic
- IOC is confident that Tokyo Olympics will be held as scheduled despite public opposition
The International Olympic Committee is confident of hosting the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics as planned despite wide public opposition in Japan. The IOC is confident that the Japanese government will be able to counter Covid-19 and the Games would be a historic event.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to get underway on July 23 but with less than three months to go, Japan is battling a surge in Covid-19 infections. Surveys held in Japan show a majority of its population want the Olympics to be cancelled or postponed for the second time. Notably, Japanese tennis stars Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka had also expressed reservations about hosting the Olympics.
About 70% of the 10,500 athletes — about 7,800 — already qualified for the Games and preparations are underway across the globe as athletes and federations are working towards reaching Tokyo and putting up a good show.
“We are now very much in an implementation phase with 78 days to go and fully concentrated on delivering the Games,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Wednesday.
“When the Games happen and the Japanese people are proud hosts of an event that will be an historic moment, I think I am very confident we will see public opinion hugely in favour of the Games.”
His online news conference, however, ended with a protester, who had signed up as a journalist to ask a question, unfurling a banner reading “No to Olympics” and shouting profanities and “No Olympics anywhere” before being cut off, according to Reuters.
Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May as the number of cases rises daily, forcing IOC President Thomas Bach to postpone a visit to Japan in May.
There will be ups and downs in public opinion: Adams
An opinion survey conducted from May 7-9 by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily showed 59% of respondents wanted the Games cancelled as opposed to 39% who said they should be held. “Postponement” was not offered as an option.
Another poll conducted at the weekend by TBS News found 65% wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again. More than 300,000 people have signed a petition to cancel the Games since it was launched about five days ago.
“In terms of Japan and Tokyo we understand the caution,” Adams said. “We are fully in solidarity with them. People are very cautious. We have to fully trust Japanese authorities.”
“There will be ups and downs (in public opinion).We have to take account of public opinion on a longer term. As things stand now we are moving full ahead. We continue to plan for full Games. That’s the way it has to be for us.”
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