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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 20 - 26  > Shii in Diet interpellation: Gov’t should devote its attention to end pandemic and give up on holding Summer Olympics
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2021 January 20 - 26 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii in Diet interpellation: Gov’t should devote its attention to end pandemic and give up on holding Summer Olympics

January 22, 2021

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 21 in his interpellation at a House of Representatives plenary session criticized Prime Minister Suga’s anti-coronavirus measures as insufficient and demanded that the Suga government give up holding the 2020 Summer Olympics and instead devote all its attention to put an end to the pandemic crisis situation.

Explaining the reason for his demand, Shii quoted the WHO chief scientist as saying that the world will not achieve herd immunity in 2021. He added, “I know COVID-19 vaccinations already started in some countries. However, vaccines can hardly be said to be a panacea to justify the opening of the Summer Games in Tokyo.”

Shii also pointed out that the pandemic situation in every country varies, which created differences in athletes’ training environments. He said, “From the viewpoint of putting athletes first, there is no justification for holding the Olympic Games this summer.”

Furthermore, Shii noted that in the first place, Tokyo Olympic organizers plan to secure 5,000 medical workers to deal with heat-related health problems. He said that if the Summer Games are held as planned, the organizers need to increase the number of medical workers for anti-coronavirus measures. He added, “Given the current situation, to hold the Olympics in six months with the help of a large number of healthcare professionals is unrealistic.”

Shii said, “As the government of the host country, it should consider whether holding the Summer Games is appropriate without preconditions. And, it should begin negotiating with the Tokyo government, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, and the IOC.”

Along with the demand for the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Games, Shii urged the government to accept JCP proposals in the fight against COVID-19. The JCP proposes that the government implement an aggressive testing strategy to detect and protect asymptomatic carriers; drastically improve support for hospitals, medical workers, and community-based public healthcare centers; and take large-scale measures to support employment and business continuity during the pandemic together with adequate compensation for losses of earnings due to corona-related restrictions.

Shii in conclusion opposed the move by the government and the ruling party to introduce penal regulations in its anti-coronavirus measures. He said that efforts to obtain public consent and understanding, sufficient aid, and social solidarity are vital in fighting infectious diseases.

Past related articles:
> Medical community: Adoption of penalties harmful to fight against pandemic [January 16, 2021]
> JCP: Not fines but consent and grants are needed to fight COVID-19 pandemic [January 11, 2021]
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