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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 April 21 - 27  > Mobilization of many nurses to Summer Games during pandemic will weaken Japan’s healthcare system
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2021 April 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Mobilization of many nurses to Summer Games during pandemic will weaken Japan’s healthcare system

April 25 & 27, 2021
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently requested the Japan Nursing Association to mobilize about 500 nurses to be part of a Summer Games medical team. Meanwhile, the Suga government has called on medical institutions for their cooperation in sending nurses to Osaka Prefecture where daily COVID-19 cases top 1,000.

Frontline healthcare workers are exhausted from the stress and long hours on the frontlines in the war against the COVID-19 and the nation’s vaccination rollout is so slow that most people are still unvaccinated. Under this dismal situation, the mobilization of so many nurses to the Summer Games will inevitably drive frontline workers to further exhaustion.

Akahata on April 25 cited a Tokyo organizers’ document in which the government appealed to the organizing committee for the need to gather 500 nurses from across Japan in order to form a medical team consisting of 10,000 medical workers including doctors during the Games.

According to the document, along with competition venues and the Olympic village, job locations for nurses include general dispensaries, fever clinics, and designated quarantine hotels. This indicates that the Tokyo organizers assume that athletes and Olympic-related people would catch the coronavirus. Nurses will be required to work for five days or longer in 9-hour rotating shifts. They will also be required to take part in a “compulsory” training program before the Games.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on April 26 at a press conference in the Diet building said that he was shocked at the organizing committee’s assumption that COVID cases will likely be detected among Olympic athletes.

Furthermore, Koike noted that in the document, the organizing committee only mentioned the payment for round-trip transportation and accommodation to dispatched nurses while indicating no willingness to provide even a mere pittance to those nurses and compensation to hospitals for releasing nurses. Koike said, “This means that the organizing committee intends to use nurses as volunteers. This is unacceptable.”

Koike stressed, “The government should cancel the Summer Games and instead concentrate on the fight against COVID-19 with support for hospitals and medical workers, which will lead to protecting athletes from exposure to infection and the general public overall.”

Past related article:
> JCP Tamura: Mobilization of 10K medical workers to Summer Games will hamper nation’s fight against COVID-19 [March 17, 2021]
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