Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 June 16 - 22  > Olympic Games 'with spectators' are opposite of needed effort to control flow of people
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2021 June 16 - 22 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Olympic Games 'with spectators' are opposite of needed effort to control flow of people

June 22, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The national government and the Tokyo Metropolitan government have decided to hold the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games with spectators. A group of experts last weekend recommended that the Games with no spectators is "preferable". The decision, however, goes against the recommendation, showing the Suga government's and the Olympic organizers' intent to go ahead with a "with spectators" Games, which will inevitably increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections in Japan.

The national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan government, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Paralympic Committee in their meeting on June 21 decided to limit the number of fans to 10,000 per venue, setting a 50%-cap on venue capacity. Regarding the number of spectators allowed to attend the opening ceremony in the main Olympic stadium, they said they will decide on that separately.

During the Summer Games, many people will travel around Japan, mainly in the Tokyo area, going against the effort "to restrain the flow of people as much as possible" to prevent infections from spreading.

Omi Shigeru, who heads the government expert panel on COVID-19, and 25 other experts issued a proposal on June 18. They did not deal with the good or bad of holding the Games, but instead focused on strong warning of the risk of increasing COVID-19 cases with spectators in attendance. They demanded that the government and the Organizing Committee take adequate measures by looking squarely at the risks.

Their proposal estimates that if a spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and an increase in the flow of people are combined, the number of newly infected in Tokyo alone will be more than 2,000 at the end of July. If this happens, medical institutions in Tokyo will be overwhelmed and many people could die, inevitably inviting another crisis.

Tokyo Shimbun on June 21 released the results of a Kyodo News opinion poll which shows that 86.7% of respondents said they are worrying about a possible re-spread of infections due to the holding of the Games. According to the Asahi Shimbun on the same day, 83% of people "feel anxiety" about another surge of infections. In a Mainichi Shimbun poll on June 20, 64% of people answered they "do not believe that the Summer Games can be held in a safe and secure manner". Lives are more important than the holding of the Olympic Games. It is necessary to increase this call to influence decision makers.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved