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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 April 28 - May 11  > Over 230K signatures calling for cancellation of Tokyo Summer Games collected in 3 days
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2021 April 28 - May 11 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Over 230K signatures calling for cancellation of Tokyo Summer Games collected in 3 days

May 7 & 8, 2021

Akahata on May 7 reported that an online petition campaign calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games amid the pandemic collected more than 230,000 signatures within just three days after its launch.

The petition campaign was launched by former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations Utsunomiya Kenji on May 5 on the online petitioning site “Change.org”. The petition is addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach, Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, Tokyo Olympics head Hashimoto Seiko, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, and two other key figures.

In response to an Akahata interview, Utsunomiya pointed out that the national and Tokyo metropolitan government policy of sticking to opening the Summer Games has led to insufficient infection prevention and control measures. He went on to point out, “Under the current situation where hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19, the holding of the Games is the extreme of recklessness. The both governments should decide on the cancellation of the Games without delay and make all-out efforts to support individuals and businesses struggling to survive the pandemic.”

On the previous day, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo held a press conference in the Diet building and again demanded that the Suga government give up on holding the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Shii noted that Japan ranked 118th in the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people in the total population. He said, “The gap in vaccine availability has become a world problem. In addition, although Japan seeks to host the Summer Games, the nation’s vaccine rollout is too slow. Not only Japan but also the international community is in no condition to hold the Games.”

Shii referred to the fact that the Tokyo organizers made a request for a dispatch of 500 nurses and 200 sports medicine doctors to join an Olympic medical team and asked 30 hospitals designated for dealing with COVID-19 patients to accept athletes and officials in case of infections. Shii said, “It is absolutely unforgivable for the government to impose further burdens on medical workers and facilities already overwhelmed by the pandemic.”

Furthermore, Shii cited the organizing committee’s “Host Town” project under which local governments registered as “Host Towns” are required to carry out various activities that promote warm relations with their partner countries. He pointed out that among registered “Host Towns” accounting for 30% of all municipalities in Japan, some withdrew from the project due to difficulty in balancing their role as “Host Towns” and their fight against COVID-19.

Criticizing PM Suga’s remark that it is the IOC that decides on the cancellation, Shii said, “As the government of the host nation, the Japanese government can decide to call off the Games in order to protect people’s lives. The IOC is not authorized to annul this decision. The Japanese government should take the initiative in deciding on the cancellation and notify the IOC of this decision.”

Past related articles:
> Mobilization of many nurses to Summer Games during pandemic will weaken Japan’s healthcare system [April 25 & 27, 2021]
Past related article:
> Vaccinations for the elderly finally start in Japan, JCP Koike says 'too slow' [April 13, 2021]
> Summer Olympic Games under pandemic conditions should be cancelled in order to focus on fight against COVID-19: JCP [February 1, 2021]
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