Tokyo Olympics: IOC’s Thomas Bach cancels Japan trip amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan- Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Japan, IOC IOC President Thomas Bach has cancelled a trip to the country with just a few weeks left ahead of the grand event. The development was confirmed by the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee on Monday. Bach was supposed to visit Hiroshima next Monday and meet the torch relay and then probably travel to Tokyo.
Last week, Seiko Hashimoto, Organizing committee president, has said that that the trip would be “tough” for Bach to make.
This is because a state of emergency has been extended in Tokyo and other parts of Japan till May 31. The state of emergency was supposed to end on Tuesday.
The statement added that Bach’s visit would be made “as soon a possible.”
With just 10 weeks left for the Tokyo Olympics, the postponement is an embarrassment to the IOC. The governing body and the Organizers have repeatedly said the Olympics will not be canceled, and will be “safe and secure.”
As many as 11,000 people have succumbed to the virus, which is still better as compared to numerous countries, but poor for Asia. The public health system is under pressure amid the spread of virus variants.
Tokyo Olympics: IOC’s Thomas Bach cancels Japan trip amid surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan
Meanwhile, the sentiments of the Japanese continue to be against holding the Tokyo Olympics during the middle of the pandemic. Nearly 80 per cent of locals want the Olympics to be cancelled or postponed. An online petition gained almost 3 lakh signatures within 3 days. A small protest was also staged against Olympics on Sunday at Tokyo.
Naomi Osaka, who will represent Japan at the Olympics, said she has mixed feelings.
“Of course I would say I want the Olympics to happen, because I’m an athlete and that’s sort of what I’ve been waiting for my entire life,” she said Sunday at the Italian Open.
“But I think that there’s so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year,” Osaka added. “I think a lot of unexpected things have happened and if it’s putting people at risk, and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now.”
On Monday, the leader of Japan’s main opposition party said it was not possible to safely hold the games.
“I think it is possible that the measures our nation takes to protect human life and livelihoods simply will not make it possible to hold the Olympics,” said Yukio Edano, head of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan as quoted by AP.
“In that situation, the IOC and Tokyo city government will have to make a decision, and the government will back that,” he added.
Olympics start on July 23 after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic. The tournament will take place from July 23-Aug 8.
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