Public opposition to the Olympic Games has mounted in recent weeks.With only a tiny percentage of Japanese people now vaccinated, public opinion polls in the country show between 60-80% want the Olympics canceled, and an online petition asking for the games be canceled has gained 400,000 signatures in a few weeks.Many of respondents said they were “unconvinced” by Prime Minister Suga’s repeated assurances that it is possible to hold the games safely.There are some regions in the country under a state of emergency, including Tokyo and Osaka. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which is listed as an official partner of the games on the Tokyo 2020 website, asked Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to call off the event. “We demand that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga evaluate the situation calmly and objectively, and decide against holding the Olympics and Paralympics this summer,” they said. Business leaders in Japan have also spoken out against hosting the games. Earlier this week, the U.S. issued a warning to avoid travel to Japan due to high rates COVID-19. Japan has reported 32,509 new cases in the past week and 654 new deaths.
However, organizers and the IOC, often citing the authority of the World Health Organization, say the games can be held safely with 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes entering Japan. “It has become clearer than ever that these Games will be safe for everyone participating and the Japanese people,” John Coates, the chair of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, said in a statement. More than 100 million doses of vaccines from Europe have been authorized to be exported to Japan. The European Union’s two top officials have expressed support Thursday for holding the Tokyo Olympics. Leaders said they support the holding of the rescheduled Olympics “in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in defeating COVID-19.”