“The fact that we are so late for the vaccination, it’s really dangerous to host the big international event,” Mikitani said in the interview, which was posted on CNN’s website. “This is like a suicide mission,” he added.
With nearly two months to go, Tokyo is currently under a state emergency covering the majority of Japan’s major urban areas, in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. Suga on Friday announced the measure would be expanded to cover three more prefectures.
Polls have shown that there is great dissent against the idea of staging the games, which have already been deferred by a year during the pandemic. A survey published by the Yomiuri newspaper this week found 59% of respondents said the event should be cancelled.
The number of people in serious condition in Japan due to the virus is at its highest level since the pandemic began, at about 1,200. Meanwhile, just 3.2% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with 54.1% in the U.K. and 46.8% in the U.S.
Tokyo Olympics: Athletes to be vaccinated, People still concerned
While most athletes are expected to be vaccinated before the Olympics, many people have expressed concern about the risk posed by thousands of other people who are expected to arrive in Tokyo, which is scheduled to begin July 23.
Suga told reporters Friday that the movements of foreign media covering the Olympics would be restricted and that the government would consider deporting those who break the rules.
Tokyo Olympics: Japan’s billionaire Rakuten CEO calls Tokyo Games a ‘suicide mission’