As the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies draw nearer, Japanese doctors are calling for officials to cancel the event amid surging COVID-19 numbers.
“We strongly oppose holding the Tokyo Olympics at a time when people around the world are fighting the new coronavirus. It is impossible to hold a safe and secure Olympics during the pandemic,” a union of Japanese doctors wrote in a statement to the government. “We can’t deny the danger that many kinds of new virus variants will bring to Tokyo from around the world,” the union statement added.
There are now less than 70 to go before the before the commencement of the Tokyo Games. Olympic officials have thus far shrugged off concerns. They say Japan can safely hold the event with Covid-19 countermeasures.
Last month, Japan announced a state of emergency in the Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo regions to quell disease spread ahead of Olympics.
“Today we decided to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The emergency went into effect on April 25 came to an end on May 11.
The country is facing scrutiny for its slow vaccine rollout but the government is making efforts to turn things around. Last week the government started accepting online bookings for elderly people to receive shots at large Self Defense Forces-staffed vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka.
Just weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee banned athletes from wearing apparel featuring the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” The ban is a part of the IOC’s longtime ban on “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” on the playing field, the medal stand or during the Games’ official ceremonies.
More generic words like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality” will be allowed on T-shirts.