Japan’s opposition leader calls for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics and warns of an ‘explosive’ wave of Covid

Top line

Japanese opposition leader Yukio Edano warned on Friday that the Tokyo Olympics could trigger an “explosive” increase in Covid-19 cases in the country, echoing the sentiments of several doctors and politicians in the country who have asked that the games be postponed. or canceled.

Key facts

According to Nikkei Asia, Edano warned that the “high mobility” of people during the summer games could cause a “domestic explosion of cases” in August and September to a level higher than what Japan is currently experiencing.

Edano called on the Japanese government to negotiate with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about postponing the games for another year or canceling them altogether.

The IOC, however, appears to be moving forward with the games as scheduled with its vice president John Coates stating that the decision to have spectators at the games will be made at the end of June.

Coates told reporters on Friday that he would “love to see” crowds at the Olympics, noting that the decision to have them present will likely be made in conjunction with the rules for all other ongoing sports leagues in Japan, indicating that the Games Olympians may not get a special grant.

Large number

20.3 million. That’s the total number of vaccine doses that have been administered in Japan, with nearly 11% of the population receiving at least one dose, according to Bloomberg’s. vaccination tracker. Despite a late start, the pace of Japan’s launch has picked up significantly in recent weeks, with the country delivering around 710,000 doses per day over the past week. according to Reuters, which is approaching its planned goal of 1 million daily doses.


Edano’s statement comes at a time when public anger over the Olympics has caused approval ratings for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government to hit a record low. According to a survey conducted by a Japanese newspaper Yomiuri shimbun Earlier this month, Suga’s cabinet approval stands at 37%, a sharp decline from the 74% approval it had after its formation in September last year.

Key Background

While the number of new Covid-19 cases has dropped dramatically across Japan, Tokyo, the host city, continues to report around 400 new cases on average every day. Japanese doctors have called for the games to be postponed or canceled, warning that the country’s medical infrastructure has already been weakened by the pandemic. Despite this, the government reportedly plans to allow domestic viewers to attend the Olympics, as the government feels increasingly optimistic about the launch of the vaccine. All discussions about the games are carried out under the assumption that national spectators will attend, the Asahi Shimbun reported earlier this week, citing an official in the Japanese prime minister’s office. Japanese media commentators They have suggested that Suga may be hoping that a successfully staged Olympics could help boost support for his government, allowing him to call early elections immediately after games.

Other readings

Japan could reportedly allow domestic spectators to attend the Olympics (Forbes)

Japanese Scientists Warn Tokyo Olympics Could Help Spread COVID-19 (Sciences)

‘Claims could amount to billions’: interest at stake if Olympics in Japan are canceled (Guardian)

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